Jason Cohen is notable for many things. He’s training for one of the hardest foot races in the world, he completely turned around his health journey through pure hard work, and he’s our first male #WarriorCrush! We met Jason when he reached out to us after trying our Pumpkin Seed and Chia Bars during his grueling long runs. Once we heard his story, we knew he was a warrior through and through.
It was around middle school that I started gaining weight. As a young kid I had alway been extremely thin and active, but as I started to make my way through my adolescent years, I began to put on a few pounds every year. Fast forward to age 27 when I found myself looking down at the scale displaying the number 297. It had been months or even years since I weighted myself, and I was in total shock. I made a vow to myself to never see that number get above 300 and I got to work. Before that moment, I had always believed that I would be overweight, but in that moment I decided to re-write my story.
I started to be open to new foods (previously all of my meals were monochromatic and beige) and slowly I began to shed some pounds. Every time I stepped on the scale it proved to me that what I had believed for so long was a lie. I didn’t have to be overweight. I didn’t have to struggle.
I began to realize that there was so much more out there for me and I started to believe in myself. As I dropped weight and started to feed myself with new foods, I finally began to have the energy to be active. Around this time, one of my best friends gave me a bike. I got more and more serious about cycling and eventually picked up running as well.
When I started my health and weight loss journey, I had heard about Leadville. Three years ago I was passing through Leadville, Colorado on vacation three days before the marathon/heavy half and decided to stick around for the heavy half, a 15.5-mile race up and down literal mountains. I had never ran a race before and the longest I had run up until that point was 8 miles, which was also at sea level in Louisiana. I came down 6th street to the finish line with tears in my eyes realizing the amazing journey I had been on, and realized that at 300lbs I could have never imagined this life that I now had. I came away from that race with so much gratitude and Leadville has really had a piece of my heart ever since.
I am absolutely thrilled and feel honored to be able to make it to the starting line of the Leadville 100 this year. It will be an amazing 30 hours with beautiful views, some of my best friends supporting me, and being a part of something that only 7 years ago would have seemed completely impossible to me.
If there is anything that I want people to take away from my story, its this: believe in yourself. I only wish that I would have heard and believed that idea sooner. Now, I practice it every day.
We’ll be cheering Jason Cohen on during his 100-mile race in Leadville on August 18, 2018. Follow along on our Instagram stories. Follow Jason Cohen on Instagram at @jason_cohen and watch the trailer for his upcoming documentary, Heavy as Lead, about his journey.
Want more? One of our own took on the race last summer. Hear her thoughts on one of the hardest races on the planets.