Brittany Charboneau: The Funny Runner
It sounds crazy, right? Someone who leaves their adult, corporate job to take up improv comedy and professional running? It will sound wacky and eccentric and not very realistic right up until you meet Brittany Charboneau, aka: The Funny Runner. Her awesome sense of humor aside, when Brittany starts talking about her goals - both the incremental and the broad - for creating her one woman comedy show while also training to qualify for the 2020 Olympic marathon time trials, you quickly start to see exactly why these tandem dreams both make a lot of sense and how she is chipping away at bringing them to fruition one mile at a time.
Not only did we find Brittany’s story fascinating, we highly encourage this episode for anyone you know who needs a little motivation to take that first step towards a big dream, particularly the young women in your life.
WD: Is your personal life currently changing (i.e. babies, kids leaving, divorce, marriage. etc) If so, how?
BC: I'm in my first year of marriage, and in this first year, I've left my corporate job to pursue running and comedy full time. We've moved from downtown Denver to Golden for training. My husband also trains for Ironman triathlons, so this is also a balancing act for both of our training.
WD: What is the biggest challenge in your personal life?
BC: Getting out of my own head and believing in myself! I didn't realize it, but this has been the most challenging thing I do. Yes, even more challenging than training for marathons and writing/performing my own show. I can be really hard on myself, but I've been working so hard to stay positive and out of my own way as I'm working towards my goals. After winning the Colfax Marathon last year, I finally started to really BELIEVE that I could do big things, achieve goals and trust in the hard work.
WD: What is the most satisfying aspect of your personal life?
BC: I love hindsight. I'm huge on writing and saying what you want, putting the work behind it every single day, then eventually seeing it come to fruition. I LOVE looking back at my journals from running and comedy and realizing the growth and accomplishments that have come from when I've written them to now. Sometimes I get so focused on the every day work, but when my dreams and goals are realized and I get to reflect on that, I am so thankful and so full of joy!
WD: Is that what you thought you would be doing?
BC: No way! I always dreamed about/thought how cool it would be to be a pro athlete or be able to perform, but never in a million years did I think I would be able to actually do one, let alone BOTH. When I was deciding last year to quit my corporate job to pursue these dreams, I was so nervous about how my husband and I would actually make this work. Somehow, it has. I wake up every day so thankful for the opportunity to chase what I love!
WD: If not, what altered your path?
BC: I had to listen to my gut and just trust that everything happens for a reason and it would all come together. I'm so grateful that it has, and I'm still on this crazy journey. There was a point that my gut was screaming at me that I needed to go down this path vs. the one I was on. Wow, am I glad that I listened, but I never thought that it would look like this when I got here.
WD: What is your biggest challenge professionally?
BC: Not comparing myself to fellow runners and comedians. Because both are in the spotlight and with everyone putting everything on social media, it's so hard to not start to compare yourself. As I was preparing for the 2018 New York Marathon, I finally had to ban myself from posting or scrolling social media because I found myself seeing what other runners were doing in their training, how they looked, etc. and I started to doubt all of my training. This is the worst place to be in as I am putting all of my effort and trust into my training. I've done a ton of work on my mental game just as much as my physical training to realize that I can only control what I do in training, how I show up on race day (or on stage), and that I'm on my journey and no one else's.
WD: Was there a defining moment that set you on your current path? What?
BC: A good friend of mine came to an improv show one time last year. I was at a point where I was struggling with being in a corporate job on the path I was "supposed" to be on vs. what my gut was telling me. She somehow sensed this, and offered to have me over for dinner to chat. That night honestly changed my life. We talked for almost four hours through what I wanted to do, what I genuinely felt like was my path, and that it was ok to go for it. That set so many things in motion and led me on this path that I'm on.
WD: Who is your support system?
BC: I wouldn't be where I am & doing the things I do without all of the support I have. My husband first and foremost is the most incredible person and my biggest supporter. My parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins are all so tight-knit and always encouraging. My training crew includes my running coach, my trainer, my injury prevention trainer, my massage therapist. The kids that I coach and their families are incredible. The improv and theater world are some of the most supportive people ever. And of course, myself...I've had to learn to be my own biggest cheerleader because if I'm not, no one else can be.
WD: What did you want to be as a child when you grew up?
BC: An Olympic gymnast, but it was too expensive of a sport. Then I wanted to be a horse jockey, until I realized how fast horses went and it freaked me out. Then I wanted to be a forensic scientist until I realized that I hated science and blood. Then I wanted to be a court interpreter... It continues haha.
To learn all about Brittany’s adventures, check out her website: https://brittanycharboneau.com/