If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that I always begin my Going the Distance series by sharing how I know my featured runner. There’s always an interesting story behind how I met the person.
As it turns out, however, I’ve never met Kelly—though we seem to be kindred spirits. Kelly and I connected online because we share an interest for giving back through running. In May, the Small Change initiative was highlighted in Zelle, an online sister publication to Runner’s World. As a race director, Kelly reached out to discuss partnering to support our race communities. I was delighted that the Zelle article resulted in interest.
While Kelly and I are still exploring a partnership, I knew that she would make an inspiring profile. It’s clear from her blog, Miles to Go, that she is passionate about running and has spunk. Yes, spunk. And it’s spunk that encourages us to be courageous, face adversity head on, and well, get out there and run—and that’s just what Kelly brings to the table. I’m honored to share the story of how this spirited runner serves her community.
Where do you live and train?
I live in northern VA, where I run around Woodbridge and the surrounding neighborhoods.
How long have you been running?
I started training and running for half marathons in 2011. My first race was the Virginia Beach Rock N’ Roll Half and have run it every year since. I’ve completed 16 halfs and five full marathons. My favorite races are VA Beach RnR and the Marine Corps Marathon.
How did you get interested in running?
I always ran as a warm-up for rowing. I got more into running when I realized even after rowing practice, all I wanted to do was run.
What about running do you love?
It’s freeing! You can run anywhere and for however long you want. It can be anything you need it to be.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to running? How do you overcome it?
I have a hip injury that has been getting worse since my rowing days (over 7 years). I still see a physical therapist for it, but I refuse to stop running. I’ll run until I can’t anymore.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?
Charleston, SC—over the Ravenal Bridge—it’s the most beautiful view.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
This isn’t really a ritual, but before races I freak myself out enough to go to the bathroom at least five times.
What has running taught you?
To love myself. It’s a slow process, but running really can make you get to know yourself, whether you like it or not.
What inspired you to use running to fundraise and volunteer for nonprofits?
I’ve always loved volunteering for my community. When I started running, it was just another outlet to better myself and help others. It’s a win-win scenario. My first “running” volunteer position was as a coach for Girls on the Run. This experience made me love running even more and want to volunteer for more running organizations.
Best advice for beginner runners?
Stick with it. So many beginners give up before it gets interesting. I promise, it gets better.
Who’s one person you’d like to run with and why?
I’d love to run with Natalie Moralis from the Today Show. That probably isn’t what you thought I’d say, but I LOVE the Today Show. Natalie is so adventurous and fun—and she’s a runner!
What’s left on your 2015 race calendar?
A couple of small and big races. Currently, I have VA Beach Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon, Army Ten Miler, Marine Corps Marathon, Savannah Rock N’ Roll half—and more to come. I’m currently fundraising for Marine Corps Marathon for Team RWB. My goal is $1,000, which goes towards helping our veterans get back into civilian world through physical activity. Learn more about Team RWB and why I chose them on my donation page.
Favorite post-run snack or beverage?
BEER, burgers, and pasta—everything filling.
If you’re not running, what keeps you busy?
Race planning, blogging, friends, events, and scrapbooking. I also love eating and watching movies. I love being busy, which is why I have seven jobs right now (yes, seven), which includes coaching cross country teams for children, working at a running store, and volunteering for a nonprofit in the DC area called Back on My Feet.
Favorite running book or movie?
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. The book is a great memoir about long distance running—it’s a fantastic read for runners.
If you would like to be featured in Going the Distance or know someone who should, please drop me a note. C’mon—don’t be shy.