Welcome to Feature Friday! Every Friday, CEP Compression shares the personal journey of one our amazing ambassadors. Today, we're proud to introduce Carmen Crum!

Hello, my name is Carmen Crum. I was born and raised in Rome with my 2 brothers and sister, my parents are from Lima, Peru. When I was a young girl, our dad decided to live his life on his own.

My upbringing has always been active, living next door to our 3 cousins we used to organize our "Summer Olympics" as soon as school was out! A group of 7 of us would compete on our quiet streets in everything from soccer, volleyball, running, and more!

The first real encounter to more serious athletics came when I was around 16 years old, where my Uncle (Tio Manuel) played a major part in my life! He had been working as a body building instructor (and still is at the age of 70+) at the Roman Sport Center, the biggest and most prestigious gym in Rome, it was very inspiring to me.

I recall going for my 1st 5K run ever at the age of 18 with a runners group from the gym, oh I felt like fainting , puking and passing out! I felt like they all had to be professional runners but since then, I have not stopped running and it encouraged me to continue in training which has been close to 30 years at this point! 

In the 90's there was aerobics, then came the cycling, and my love for the gym never stopped. While I was studying and working abroad for 5 years I met and married an US Marines in London. We moved to California in 1996 where I now call home and live with my two sons, Omega 21, Nikolas 15, my two most precious possessions.

When I really started racing marathons in 2009, The Nike Women's Marathon in SF to be exact, I had found my passion! All I had to do was lace up my sneakers and head outdoors for a run! I loved the simplicity, no fees, no limits, no schedules!

Since then I have completed numerous 5k, 15k, half and full marathons, 50K and 45 Spartan Races. Obstacle Course Racing began in 2014, when my cousin was diagnosed with cancer and was declared cancer free! She formed a team and we all raced the most brutal of all races, muddy, freezing and up the mountains. Seeing her going through all the difficult obstacles was magnificent and it filled all of our hearts! It was very powerful just crossing that hardcore race finish line!

Unfortunately her cancer returned aggressively and she passed away two years later, and ever since that first Spartan Race I have become a Spartan in her honor.

I've raced 45 Spartan races placing top 50 as a Master Elite (over 40s) and even won a 3rd place in Chicago! This podium win came as a very emotional one.

My dad and I got to have a father-daughter relationship for the past 20 years and then he fell ill with cancer. He passed away 2 days before my race and he never got the chance to see me win.

When he used to cheer me on, before every race he used to tell me to go win! Now, I have two angels that keep looking over me. They encourage me to continue with my training and goals. I do not see myself stopping anytime soon, I am a Spartan

This year I am tackling 6 half and 6 marathons! So far I am at 3 half and 2 full, and as my next race approaches, I still feel nervous, even after so many years! Happy Running everyone!!!

Follow Carmen on Instagram @Carmomella