DENVER — Brittany Charboneau has been running for fun the past 18 years, but after only two years doing it professionally, she’s already on a path that could take her to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

She’s got one more big race: The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29, racing against a record number of women looking to earn just a few spots on the Olympic Marathon team. 

“It’s a record-setting year for how many women have qualified,” said Charboneau. "I think it’s something like 400 or 500 women have qualified and three people go to the Olympics.”

Brittany Charboneau marathon runner

That sounds serious, just maybe not as serious to Charboneau, who finds a lot of humor in running.

Along with running, Charboneau is a stand-up comic. She teaches improv in Denver and has performed her one-woman show on the Second City stage in Chicago.

“I started improv and sketch comedy about three or four years ago," said Charboneau. “I incorporate comedy into my running. I create characters while I’m running."

Brittany Charboneau marathon runner/comic

That might explain why if you follow Charboneau on Instagram, the “funnyrunner26.2” might be focused on getting to the Olympics, but often stops during her runs to pick up spare change she finds on the street. 

“It’s very lucrative. Last year, in 2019, I made $24.13,” said Charboneau. "I kept track of how many pennies, and I found 540 pennies and 35 quarters and when you think about it that way, it’s a lot.”

Brittany Charboneau marathon runner

Now the goal is to run fast in Atlanta and make the Olympic team, eventually running in Tokyo, where she’s looking to pick up more than just spare change. 

"Maybe pick up some gold, silver or bronze, large coins -- that would be ideal.” said Charboneau.

The 2020 summer Olympics start July 24 in Tokyo.

Brittany Charboneau marathon runner

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