JOHN KELLY

JOHN KELLY

DATE OF BIRTH: 19.11.1984
NATIONALITY: USA

Bio


"Without the possibility of failure, a goal is nothing more than a task."


I grew up adventuring through the dense mountains and forests around my family’s rural home in Tennessee, constantly trying to keep up with my older brother and cousins. That grew into a love of exploration and a drive to continually challenge myself with goals that push my boundaries and that have failure as a probable outcome. Mountain running allows me to do both of those things at once; the longer and the tougher the terrain and conditions, the better. The closer to my limit I go the more I become aware of my own strengths and weaknesses and how to best use or overcome them. This knowledge helps me improve not only as a runner, but in other areas of life. I’m a husband and father of three, and I currently work in the UK as a data scientist trying to find valuable information out of noisy, complex datasets (a skill that serves me well in ultrarunning). I hope to be able to pass along my love of exploring and appreciation for wild places to my kids and to others, but more importantly I hope to pass along the confidence and passion to pursue big goals.

Interview

1) Which is your favorite place for running?
The biggest reason I love mountain running is to be able to explore as much as possible. I love seeing new places and grand mountain vistas, but if I had to choose just one then I guess there’s no place like home. I could run around the mountains where I grew up in Morgan County, Tennessee (home of the Barkley Marathons) for the rest of my life without running out of places to explore.
2) Which is your specialization?
Long, steep, technical, and if possible cold and miserable weather conditions.
3) Do you have a pre-race routine?
I used to, but then I found that it served little more than to make me anxious and some of my most successful races were when that routine was disrupted. Now I just check my pack and drop bags to be sure I have all my gear and nutrition ready to go, and try to relax (usually with an episode of Star Trek).
4) When and why did you start running?
I grew up on a farm with my brother and two cousins who averaged 5 years older than me. The only way I could keep from getting left behind was to run! I took nearly a decade off from running before picking it back up at age 29, wanting to discover what I could do at longer distances while I could still do it.
5) Which are your La Sportiva favorite shoes?
It is hard to pick just one; one of the reasons I love La Sportiva shoes is because for nearly any situation they make a model that’s the best, rather than one model that’s mediocre for everything. For the things I do, the Akasha has long seen the most use, but I am quickly beginning to love the Jackal. For super technical terrain I would usually use the Mutant, or for shorter races the Kaptiva.
6) What's in the air?
Covid19 obviously changed a lot of people’s plans, so I’ll be focusing more on some of my solo adventures and FKT attempts before hopefully targeting Tor Des Geants 2021 as my big goal once normal racing resumes.

 

In primo piano

  • 2017 Touched the yellow gate to become the 15th finisher of the Barkley Marathons
  • 2018 Completed the first ever sub 24 hour run at The Wild Oak Trail 100 (112 miles with 30K feet of elevation gain)
  • 2019 Created, attempted, and came up short on The Grand Round, a challenge to do all 3 big UK fell running rounds consecutively
  • 2020 Kissed the wall of The Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm to win The Spine Race after racing nearly 88 hours through the British countryside in winter weather that included a named storm

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