While a freshman at Middletown High School, Carolyn Bravakis decided her vocation was to become a secondary English teacher. After earning her B.A. from the University of CT, in Storrs in 1965, (and soon afterwards, her M.A.) Carolyn taught in Windsor Locks School System from 1967-1981. When her teaching position was eliminated due to declining enrollment, Carolyn realized her avocation: long distance running,
Seeking to emulate her brother, Dr. Robert E. McCarthy, who established a racing program for the Middletown Recreational Department, and as a participant in Bob O’Connors “Run for Your Life” program, Carolyn was a pioneer in women’s distance running and became a top Connecticut female runner during the late ’70s running boom, as she competed against college-trained and more experienced runners, while a member of the Hartford Track Club.
Carolyn’s list of honors is impressive: National Champion 30K, March 1977, (Bronze 1978, Silver 1979,1981-5th Place);ranked 12th in World, February 1979, Women’s Marathoning (Runner s World); represented the USA Nov. 1979 in the inaugural Tokyo International Women Marathon; featured in TIME Magazine, “Women in Sports,” June 1978—truly remarkable for someone who began running at age 31!
Below is an additional list of her accomplishments:
• Won Inaugural Manchester Community College 12 Miler, 1977
• Qualified for Boston Marathon running Wesleyan Middletown Marathon, March 1977
• First Female Hartford Track Club Member to compete in Boston Marathon,1976; placed 12th in 1978
• Won Inaugural New Haven CT 20 KM Labor Day Road Race, 1978
• Partnered with Runner’s World Amby Burfoot–Trevira Twosome Ten Miler, NYC, 1979
• Set Age-record 30-39 Virginia 10 Miler, 1978,
• Won Westerly, RI, Marathon, 1978; and Women’s CT 15 KM AAU Championship, Stamford, 1978;
• Repeat winner Rose Arts Festival 10.6 Miler, Norwich, CT, 78, 79.
Although teaching fulltime, Carolyn was a contributing writer to New England Running, Running, and Front Runner magazines. She gave motivational seminars regarding running and women’s running at Middlesex Hospital, Pratt&Whitney Aircraft Group, Providence College, Manchester Community College, and G. Fox & Co. She was sales representative for Moving Comfort (first women’s running apparel company,) 1978-1979 and was a sales consultant to Brooks Running Shoe from 1978-1981. Since 1988, Carolyn has been an independent insurance broker servicing businesses, municipalities, and individuals.