Woman professional runner wearing a sweatshirt

Carmen Graves is a professional track racer sponsored by Oiselle, and she specializes in the uniquely challenging event of the steeplechase. Graves’s unexpected discovery of excelling at this event and the exciting reality that she continues to improve as a steeplechaser at the age of 33 is what this story is all about.

Graves loves to run and race, and she is exceptional, but her journey has been punctuated with moments of frustration and questioning. She’s experienced crippling race anxiety and, often as the only Black woman on the starting line, feelings of not belonging. Graves also recognizes the impact of racism in the sport of track and field: how Black women and women of color are steered toward sprint events, while white woman are more likely to be introduced to distance events.

Alongside facing these hurdles, Graves has experienced terrific self-discovery and triumph. She’s towing the line these days with ever stronger confidence and ability, and she’s feeling all the more empowered about the importance of representation. Graves has also gone through some big changes recently that are resulting in some new PRs and boosted confidence coming into the 2024 Olympic Trials. This will be Graves third appearance at the Olympic Trials, and she’s coming in more ready than ever to go after a spot on Team USA.

In this episode, Graves covers her fascinating steeplechase journey, and to kick things off, she gives a detailed description of the event itself. If you are unfamiliar with the steeplechase, or even if you are, this is a wonderful opportunity to sit with how truly difficult and, quite frankly, scary this event is, from a woman who is one of the best.

In addition to training and racing, Graves is the co-founder with her husband, Sean Stetler, of Denver Athletics, an all-inclusive community running club that welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities. The organization also hosts all-comers track meets, and in 2023, they hosted seven events. Graves also works full time as a program advisor for the Center of Work Education and Employment.

Please stay tuned all the way to the end of the episode, where Graves shares some post-steeplechase racing goals.

Keep Up with Carmen Graves

Instagram: @carmenpelar

Website: carmenpelar.com

Mentioned in this Episode

Denver Athletics Instagram: @denver_athletics

Denver Athletics website: denverathletics.org

Oiselle: oiselle.com

Music Credits

Cormac O’Regan, of Playtoh

Music by Grand_Project from Pixabay

Rockot, via Pixabay

penguinmusic, via Pixabay

Coma-Media, via Pixabay

chillmore, via Pixabay

Grand Project, via Pixabay

Ways to Connect and Engage with Women’s Running Stories

Instagram: @womensrunningstories

Instagram: @over50sub20_5k_project

Facebook: facebook.com/WomensRunningStories

Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/444164966663627

Website: womensrunningstories.com

Email host Cherie: clouiseturner@gmail.com

Women’s Running Stories is a proud member of the Evergreen network: https://evergreenpodcasts.com/

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