Podcast: Re-Run with Karen Boen


“The other thing I’ve learned is that fast people don’t always make great teams. I originally thought that if I recruited fast people we would automatically have great teams. And then I brought in probably the best recruiting class I had ever brought in one year and it was probably [over] the next few years the worst teams that I had had because the dynamic wasn’t there. So then I started really honing in on, ‘What does it mean to be a team?’ ‘And how do we act and react as a team?’…So that has changed a lot over my career, is really who are we and what we are trying to do as a team?” 

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I am on a little bit of a hiatus from recording new episodes of the podcast so I’m taking this time as an opportunity to re-run some of my favorite conversations from years past that some of you may want to revisit and others might be hearing for the first time. 

This week’s re-run episode is an incredibly special one to me. It’s with my college cross country and track coach, Karen Boen, who is someone that’s had a profound and lasting impact on my life. Coach saw qualities and abilities in me 20 years ago that I didn’t know I had, and she helped me to not only become a better runner, but she taught me a lot about hard work, leadership, caring for other people, and what it means to be a good teammate and human being. A lot of how I think about training, and coaching, and life in general is due to her influence and I am incredibly grateful to have run for her during my time at Stonehill College.

We recorded this episode in June of 2020 and it’s an awesome conversation that goes through Coach’s life growing up in the projects of South Boston, to how she got into track and field in college, to accidentally falling into collegiate coaching at the age of 40. She also told me how she took a small team that was on the brink of extinction and developed it into a nationally ranked program, what it’s like being a full-time female coach at the collegiate level while having a family and maintaining a social life, why she’s always focused on surrounding herself with fantastic people, the importance of setting boundaries, the biggest barriers facing female coaches today at the collegiate level and elsewhere, and so much more.

Karen Boen: Instagram | Bio

the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter

Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava

This episode is brought to you by:

— Tracksmith. Tracksmith is an independent running brand inspired by a deep love of the sport. Their Summer Collection is now available and features staples ready for your next adventure, including the Run Cannonball Run Shorts, the Off Roads Shorts, the Run Cannonball Run Tee, and more. By using code Mario22 at checkout, you can receive free shipping on your order and 5% of your purchase will go to support the Brave Like Gabe Foundation to fund rare cancer research.

Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.

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