The Big Interview: John Kelly

30th January 2021

Welcome to the Kuhl Runnings Big Interview. We've sat down (virtually, of course!) with ultrarunning legend John Kelly. John, among other things, is the reigning champion of the Spine Race - the famous (infamous?) 268-mile race held annually along the Pennine Way. His running resume also includes a finish at the Barkley Marathons whilst he boasts numerous Fastest Known Time (FKT) records. By day he is a data scientist and a couple of years ago made the big move from the United States to the UK. 

John currently resides in Bristol and took time out of his busy schedule to speak exclusively with Kuhl Runnings. From a personal point of view, it was an absolute pleasure to interview someone I look up to as an ultrarunner. I hope my fellow Kuhacers can take several nuggets of advice out of this and apply it to their own running. 

If you wish to follow John on social media, he can be in the following ways:-

Twitter: @RndmForestRunnr

Instagram: @randomforestrunner

For the convenience of our club members, here is a timestamp breakdown of the key subjects we spoke about during the interview:-

01:50 - How did you get in to running?
03:20 - Early struggles?
06:50 - running club culture in the US?
08:30 - How do you manage training during lockdown?
10:30 - Advice for someone aiming for their 5K?
11:40 - What was your first 5K like?
13:00 - If you want to know what John's current 5K PB is. Make sure you're sitting down!
14:10 - What's your favourite race distance?
16:50 - Can race kit and associated costs be discouraging for amateur runners?
21:30 - Questions from KUHACers
1) Jayne Cutill: What were the quirkiest things that amused you at Barkley?
2) Andy Dickerson: What should your longest long run be for an Ultra?
3) Steve Sole: What's the one piece of advice you'd give to a new Ultra runner?
4) Martin O'Neill: Regardless of distance how do you prepare for nutrition before a race?

36:30 - Has the shoe debate sullied running?
39:45 - Any final words for our KUHACers