Raised to Run: Creigh Kelley

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Running
Tags: , , , ,

Update 10/23/12:  Wishing you all the best in a quick, speedy recovery! “Every Dr. and nurse during this adventure has said Creigh’s being fit has made a huge difference in his treatment and recovery!”   Hugs.

When I ran my first marathon in Denver, CO I ran several training runs around the area that were directed by Creigh Kelley.  He became a familar face on what I considered weekend “fun runs.” Creigh might as well be the mayor of the running circuit in Denver but he’s known worldwide among runners. Creigh Kelley  has been a competitor, agent, race director, national consultant, and elected leader in the national and international running community for 30 years.


Creigh Kelley being passed by Marathon Great Greta Waitz

Creigh (seen above) being passed by Grete Waitz at NYCM in the 80’s. She was en route to another world record and he says he was being humbled by the 1st time a woman passed me in a race (he quickly follows up “it would not be the last time!!”)  Here’s how Creigh Kelley is “Raisd to Run.”

AMY FREEZE Why do you run?

CREIGH KELLEY It is the easiest way for me to stay fit. With travel to dozens of events across the country and around the world each year, the equipment packing is negligible and it’s simple to put a run in as part of my daily schedule (land of “no excuses”!). At home, I have 10-20 running routes to pick from! Regardless of my attitiude when I start, it is always more positive at the finish.

AMY FREEZE How did u start running? Did someone or some event trigger your running?

CREIGH KELLEY When I was growing up in Westport, CT, my parents were post WWII and the early years were economically modest. I had no bike so I ran along side my friends when we went to the beach or to play ball. Other than hitch-hiking, it was the way I got around. Fast forward to sophomore year at Staples HS, a classmate (one of the guys that remembered my running) Kevin Cunningham asked me to go out for spring track with him. I knew where the track was but didn’t KNOW what “track” was. Coach Lane had us suit up in our gym clothes, told me to warm up for the mile (I asked how far that was and he grimaced). I lined up with a bunch of others and we did the 4 laps. I think I ran 5:40 and he said I was on the team. He told me to be there after school and if I smoked, that had to stop. I asked “how would I get home?”. He said “have your Mom pick you up.” I replied “Don’t think she will.” He said, “then hitchhike!” And so it began. A signature moment in my young life!

AMY FREEZE What are your current running habits – are you training for a race?

CREIGH KELLEY Just completed my 1st race since a small 5K in Kansas 3 years ago (that’s the article I wrote above :)!). Next race might be a 5K in Oklahoma City on October 13th! One step at a time! -What’s your most favorite running/race experience? When/Where, etc. There are two races that I remember racing, the Honolulu Marathon in ’87 and the Landwasserlauf (a roughly 17 mile event that was part of the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos, Switzerland). Both were exciting and fortunately I had really prepared for both of them! As to running experiences, I have to say crazy training runs from the Frankfurt, Germany Airport between flights (there’s a forest just behind the Esso station). Beautiful trails and even if it’s raining, it still is fun! Customs always raisies an eyebrow during the back and forth!

AMY FREEZE How do you overcome challenges in your running life – when you hit the wall, when injury strikes, when your life gets busy and it’s hard to get a run in, and all the other obstacles of life — what helps you keep running!



Creigh Kelley and Waverly

CREIGH KELLEY Oddly, I don’t burn out. Running is so much a part of the fabric of my life, it is easy to include (well, maybe when it’s below zero I whine a bit!). Injury is the stopper. Over the past 8 years I’ve had pulled hamstrings and groin muscles. Both are limiting injuries. For a period of weeks I had to walk more than run. It was what I least liked but all I had to do was think of those that would give anything to simply walk. That always shut me up. I do have one piece of my puzzle that really helps, my 5:30AM running group. These men and women show up at 5:30AM several mornings during the week while I’m in Colorado and we observe the 5 minute rule and leave at 5:35AM. Different abilities and often we’re only really together for the 1st mile during the warm-up and then afterwards in my kitchen. My dog, Wesley (95 lbs and all runner!) joins us regardless of weather. In fact, his attitude is so positive it acts like a contagion for the others. By the time we’re drinking coffee, he’s looking for a place to start his nap!

Creigh’s company web site is www.bkbltd.com 

Here are the races where you will find Creigh CALENDAR

By Amy Freeze


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