The family that runs together stays together.
Just ask Carmen Brahim. She’s the mother of two Bishop England High School students who are outstanding distance runners and shine for the cross country teams.
Brahim’s son, Marc, is a freshman member of the boys’ team which successfully defended its Class AAA state championship recently at the Sandhill Research Center in Columbia. Brahim’s daughter, Nora, earned all-state honors at the state championships, helping the
BE girls to a third-place finish.
Meanwhile, Brahim teaches World Language at the school and doubles as an assistant coach for Tony Colizzi, helping out with the girls’ team.
Colizzi appreciates Brahim’s effort, saying her involvement with the team is a family affair.
“Having a mother who is also your coach, I am sure is a little different for Marc and Nora,” Colizzi said. “Carmen does a great job of being a coach at practice and a mom to them outside of practice. She interacts with her children just like she does with any other athlete on the team. At practice, an outside observer would be hard pressed to tell, based on interactions with the athletes, which kids are Carmen’s and which are team members.”
“Both Marc and Nora are great kids,” Colizzi said. “Both work very hard in practice. Both have very bright futures in running. Both started on the team while they were in middle school, and it helped that mom was a coach on the team.”
Brahim, a native of Spain, says she can’t remember not being an athlete. She swam competitively and was a member of the national team that won six consecutive national championships.
She started running as a hobby, and in 2009 began competing in triathlons until 2016 when she retired and became a coach.
Brahim said running is more than collecting trophies and medals.
“I honestly don’t like to focus on ‘trophies.’ ” she said. “Yes, winning is great but the best lessons are learned through your journey as an athlete. The people you meet, the experiences you live; the many lessons you learn do not come from trophies and wins, but from an accumulation of experiences over the years. I always tell my athletes (and children) you have no control of the outcome of one specific day, focus on the things you can control. I do think that carries over in all aspects of life.”
Brahim is passionate about her children, coaching and everything that life offers. She admits there’s a fine line between coaching and being a mom.
“It is tough, I am very passionate about everything I do and once you mix family in, it gets even more emotional,” she said “It is the Spanish way. But as a coach I know I am better off separating the two as much as possible. I tell my kids that at practice and meets, I am their coach, not mom, this allows me to give them more subjective feedback and for them to take the feedback in a more constructive way.”