How One Mother Runner Uses Her Sport to Inspire Her Son

Interview with Boston Marathon Qualifier Debbie Cohen

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Today’s guest started running in her 30s but didn’t race her first marathon until she was 58. She struggled with injury as she worked toward qualifications for the Boston Marathon, and her journey to motherhood is a huge victory story! 

Debbie Cohen is 64 and grew up in Pawtucket, R.I., went to college in the Boston area and moved to the Washington, D.C., suburbs after graduation. She has been living in Columbia, Maryland since 1998. She had a 30-year career as a journalist and editor before launching a second career as a personal trainer five years ago, working primarily with older women looking to tone up, build strength and stamina and manage chronic conditions. 

Debbie Cohen

Debbie has been an avid swimmer her whole life but took up running and strength training at the age of 30 to add cross training to her routine and gradually developed a passion for running and competing in races. She has been married for 25 years to Ben Sussman, who works for the federal government, and they have one son, a college senior who excels in track and field and is a standout runner for his college team.

In this episode she shares insights and encouragement as she looks back on her journey, and I believe you will be blessed by this conversation. Let’s get to it.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Her journey from a long-term journalism career into personal training, and some fun stories throughout her career.
  • Her struggle/victory story into motherhood and how she used her fitness background to inspire her son.
  • Tips to avoid injury that have worked for her and her clients.
  • How she’s found contentment with the fact that life isn’t predictable, and we can’t control every circumstance.


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Transcript (lightly edited)

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