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John Kelly
John Kelly

John Kelly

Discipline: Mountain RunningĀ® Team


I grew up adventuring through the dense mountains and forests around my family’s rural home in Morgan County, TN, 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 (without that possibility a goal is just a task). Mountain running allows me to do both of those things at once, and La Sportiva has helped me push further with fewer distractions from the real reasons I’m out there.



1. Touching the yellow gate to become the 15th finisher of the Barkley Marathons
2. Kissing 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
3. Receiving not one, but two! jars of apple butter from Dennis Herr after completing the first ever sub 24 hour run at The Wild Oak Trail 100
4. Each time I get to share these moments or stories of them with my unbelievably supportive family and the incredible ultrarunning community, and see that passion for exploring the mountains spread just a bit further
5. Completing my PhD and using it to find a career that allows me to support my family while also pursuing these adventures

Honorable mention: obtaining the record for the slowest swim ever in a sub 9 hour Ironman



The most important number to me is actually how much does my resting heart rate vary – this is a huge indicator for me on whether I’m overtraining or sufficiently recovered. If I am well-rested and going into a race it’s usually in the 36-38 range.


Banner Photo by ®Steve Ashworth

La Sportiva Mountain Running