A native of Brooklyn, NY, Carleen Jamison is no stranger to long hours and hard work. The time she has spent building the Raleigh running community is matched only by a few. She is a local leader of Black Girls Run, started and still leads The Chavis Chicas, a run club in the Chavis Heights Community, leads the Alexander YMCA half marathon training groups, and co-coordinates the Trophy Brewing Run Club. All of this while working a day job at Cisco and raising her 17 year old son.
Carleen left the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn 10 years ago for a quieter life down south for her and her family. She started running in 2011 for social reasons and has now completed six full marathons and numerous halves. Although her training has taken a back seat to all the training groups she leads, she says its all worth it for the joy she sees in others.
The highlight of her running career was the Miami marathon in 2013. She traveled there alone and stayed at a hostel to keep expenses low because she was unemployed at the time. Race day was hot and she had trouble with her compression socks, so she ended up running the last 3 miles barefoot. It wasn’t her fastest time ever but its the race she is most proud of.
Carleen’s marathon training also keeps her in shape for the Carnivals she goes to every year. This year, she will be in Trinidad for 10 days, going to 2-3 parties each day, and dancing in parades the rest of the time. “If I wasn’t in marathon shape, I’m not sure I could keep up for 10 days straight.”
Carleen’s passionate about getting women of color out working out and running. Black Girls Run, the Chavis Chicas, and the MLK Day Run are all helping the cause of getting women out there. “We have so many health problems in our community that could be solved by exercise. It doesn’t matter what pace you run, it just matters that you are out there.”
Carleen – thanks for inspiring us with all you do. Raleigh is lucky to have you.