Attorney Leslie Cohen at the Leslie Cohen Law 5K, which supports the Public Counsel Debtor Assistance Project and the Samohi Cross Country Track Program. Photo by Timothy Brandt
Running for fun, friendship and charitable causes
By Taylor Van Arsdale
Leslie Cohen loves to run. This petite Santa Monica attorney, and mother of three, even meets a lot of her friends at races. Now this might seem strange to non-runners who wonder, “How do you meet and make friends when you can barely breathe during a run?”
“Most of the running that you should do, if you want to be a good runner, is not supposed to have you panting and tired the duration of your run,” Cohen says. “You only have to do that once a week. The rest of the time you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself. You can talk. And you should talk.”
In 2009, Cohen turned her love for running with friends into a good cause. The Leslie Cohen Law Running Team benefits the Public Counsel Debtor Assistance Project and the Samohi Cross Country/Track program. It’s Cohen’s way of giving back to a community that is very dear to her heart. This lithe running champion who started running rather late in life has won first place in her age division numerous times.
“In 2001, at the prompting of a friend, I ran a 5K in Griffith Park and much to my surprise I won first place in my division.”
Bolstered by her initial success she started racing, running in small local races until it became more than just a hobby. After completing her first relay marathon she realized she loved the social aspect of running. In 2006 Cohen started training seriously and got some coaching.
In 2010 when her children were in middle school she set up the “Leslie Cohen Law Running Team,” which she said, “was done strictly for fun and socializing and wasn’t intended to be competitive.” But it has turned into so much more.
Every Wednesday Cohen would take her girls and their friends out on a three mile run.
“I’d take all their pictures, post them on Facebook, get them shirts with logos on them, I’d train them and then feed them cookies when we got home.”
Cohen also bakes her own sweets which she sells locally at The Farms Market on Montana Avenue.
In addition to this, in 2012 Cohen started the Leslie Cohen Law 5K, which supports the Public Counsel Debtor Assistance Project and the Samohi Cross Country Track Program. In April the group held its second annual race.
“I tapped every connection I had to get money, food and to make this a really great event,” explains Cohen.
TO DONATE to either the Public Counsel Debtor Assistance Project and / or the Samohi Cross Country Track Program click here.