We are super excited to have an amazing group of athletes joining us this September as part of our scholarship program. Sifting through the entries was a tough job as we heard from so many fantastic and deserving runners. We managed to narrow it down to 6 winners, despite our intial plan to only have 5, and will be introducing them to you in the coming weeks.
The first scholarship recipient we want to introduce is Brian Kelley, who you may affectionately already know as Pavey or Pavement Runner from his wildly popular blog www.pavementrunner.com. "Pavey" is super connected in the social media and running communities and we’re excited to have his energy here on race day!
We had the chance to ask him a few questions so that you can get to know him a bit before spending 3 days and all those km with him out on the trails…
Tell us a bit about how you got into running…
I started running through charity. It was a 6-month training program in San Francisco that raised money for charity and culminated with running a marathon in Florence, Italy — I guess I sort of started out going big. I was in my mid-20s and knew absolutely nothing about running marathons. I relied heavily on the running community and am forever indebted for what it continues to teach me and the love it showed. My first “run” was a 3-mile out-and-back in basketball shoes; we’re talking beginner status. Even though I struggled through my first marathon, I fell in love with the process and it changed my life for the better.
How did you enter the ultra marathon world?
I read “Ultra Marathon Man” by running-legend Dean Karnazes. It sounded “crazy” and I wanted everything to do with it. At the time, I was in no position to start tackling ultra distances, but it definitely put the thought in my mind of “one day.” As I learned to run more efficiently, I finally signed up for a local 50k. It was an entirely different experience from road racing and the desire to go further was fueled even more. After a few more 50k distances, I officially signed up for a 50 miler, then another, then another. Eventually I’ll hit that register button on a 100 miler, but I love the ultra process and mindset of pushing yourself to go further, faster, and up mountains.
We’ve heard you really enjoy challenging yourself with multiple distances/races on the same weekend, or even on the same day. What’s the craziest multi workout that you’ve attempted? What drives you to challenge yourself in this way?
When I was training for my first 50 mile race, I set a 50k PR by almost 90 minutes and then ran 20 miles the following day. Looking back at it, even today, I don’t know how I managed to do that. That weekend probably falls under the most challenging, but crazy? I would have to say the time I ran multiple races on the same day in two states. It was called the #SA2LV challenge with a half marathon in San Antonio (TX) in the morning, then a marathon in Las Vegas (NV) at night. The whole day was just an amazing experience. It included showering in a professional sports locker room, carrying my luggage to the start line, changing in a port-a-potty before the start of the second race, and only being fueled by a slice of pizza at the airport between races.
What drives me to do these crazy things? My friends. LOL. It’s funny because a lot of the time we’ll take a look at what a race weekend has planned and joke about what “crazy” challenge we could do. If we see that there is a 5k and a half marathon that starts at the same time, we’ll consider running the 5k then jumping back in line to do the half. It always starts off as “you know what we could do” said with a smile, and then ends up happening.
Tell us about your local running scene. Where do you most enjoy training, and what will you be taking advantage of to train for the Golden Ultra?
The Bay Area’s running scene is unreal. With the weather constantly cooperative, you can train year around. It’s not that hard to find a local race every weekend within a 90-minute drive. The Marin headlands and Oakland hills are amazing places to train for ultras and the views are spectacular. The city of San Francisco is only 7x7 miles, but there are so many run-able routes from flat routes to hills to city streets or ocean views.
Which aspect of our 3 day race scares you the most? What are you most excited for? Do you foresee any big challenges going into this unique race format?
I wouldn’t say that I’m scared, but I know Day 2 will be the most challenging, simply because it’s in the middle. The uphill 5k on day one is going to be tough, but I have a feeling there will be so much excitement and energy flowing that adrenaline will fuel most of us that day. Day 3 will have that “last day” feel and mentality which leaves Day 2 kind of just sitting there. In the back of your mind you know you have one more day and you are likely feeling the effects of Day 1’s challenge. I know the community feel and energy from the other runners is going to carry me through the tough times.
Follow Brian's training for the Golden Ultra:
The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015. Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.