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Mariah Kelly: Run Your Way

Coaching and race directing have given Kelly a new perspective on her sport

Mariah Kelly Photo by: Mitch Kaiser

Track athlete and running coach Mariah Kelly keeps busy. These days, you can find her on Vancouver Island, working as a high-performance running coach while also honing her craft in the 1,500m. We talked about how she balances the worlds of coaching and racing, and what “Run Your Way” means to her. 

“I never thought I would learn so much from coaching other runners,” Kelly says, “but honestly, what coaching has really taught me is how much running can really change people’s lives and how much the running community can change people’s lives. The empowerment, inspiration, energy that you get from being alongside people who are chasing really big goals, whether it’s making a Worlds team or just trying to start their first 5K, we’re all the same–even though we’re all on different starting lines.”

Spending more time focused on coaching came in part due to injuries, but Kelly quickly realized she loves finding the balance between competing and coaching. “I had to take a step back from professional running because of the injuries I had in 2021, so I haven’t actually got back to that level that I was at prior to those injuries,” she says. “But that has allowed me to go into coaching a little bit more. It still is a balancing act. As an athlete, I was just very singularly focused, trying to maximize everything I could in my training.”

Now with coaching, Kelly says she’s learning to balance helping other people reach their goals while still staying on top of her training. 

She also recently added another job title: assistant race director for the Royal Victoria Marathon

Mariah Kelly
Photo: Mitch Kaiser

“Before I became an event organizer, I had no idea what went into planning races,” Kelly says. “I have so much more appreciation for just even having the opportunity to get on some of the start lines that I did! As an athlete, you train so hard to hit all the small details. And when you get to the start line, that’s your time to execute, and you’re not going into it thinking about how many people have given their time and given so much for me to have this opportunity. Now that I’m on the other side of it and I see how much goes into it, and how many volunteers are a part of making these big events, it’s become even more special.”

Tarrant Cross Child: Run Your Way

“To me, Run Your Way means that everybody has a unique path. Just because you know someone you aspire to be or someone you’re competing against gets there one way doesn’t mean that that’s going to be the way for you,” she says. “Everyone’s purpose for running is different. To run your way is about identifying why running is important to you. Why does it speak to you? Why does it light you up? What about it has drawn you to do it? Align yourself with that, because that’s your purpose. That’s your why. And when you are in those really uncomfortable states where you just want to give up, that’s what you can come back to.”

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