“If you are going to do something you should do it to the best of your ability” – Rachel Bell Kelley
Rachel grew up playing soccer and running track. While she has been running for quite a while now, Rachel has only been running trail and ultra events for about four years. Her soccer coach once told her to always smile. Her coach believed participation in sports should first and foremost bring joy to the athlete. While running can be painful at times Rachel always remembers to put a smile on her face. It helps to remind her that at the end of the day she is out there to have fun.
Rachel was introduced to trail running when she moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She met a great group of trail runners, adopted an awesome trail running pup and hasn’t looked back!
While Rachel has experienced podium successes, her greatest accomplishment to date is staying healthy and injury free. Four years might not sound like a long time to be in a sport but when you are putting the amount of training time in required for ultra distance events, it’s quite an accomplishment to stay healthy! Rachel’s key to staying injury free is listening to her body (which can be very difficult for runners to do when a goal is on the horizon). While Rachel isn’t afraid to push herself when feeling good she also does not hesitate to pull back if warning signs flare up.
Rachel has some pretty epic goals on the horizon! She would love to be able to properly train for and finish the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run. Hardrock is one of the most challenging races out there. It has a tremendous amount of elevation change and takes place entirely at or above 10,000 feet elevation. Rachel lives at sea level with the nearest mountains three hours away. This means Rachel will have to get creative with her training in order to accomplish her goals; speed work and stair climbing can simulate the challenges of mountain races. Above all else, Rachel’s biggest goal is to be able to continue racing for years to come so that she can continue to share her passion for the sport and inspire others. Right on, Rachel!
Running ultra distances is so much more than physical training. Nutrition is key. As a result, Rachel has had to reintroduce meat into her diet after being a vegetarian for nearly a decade. Being a vegetarian was just one more thing to think about when packing for and travelling to races. Rachel now sticks primarily to veggies, nuts, seeds and local meats while avoiding gluten and dairy. Dialing in nutrition is a huge challenge for distance runners and so far this method is working for Rachel.
Rachel first saw Orange Mud at a race she was volunteering at. At the time, she was new to trail running and looking for a way to simplify hydration. She tried Orange Mud and was hooked! Rachel’s go to product is the Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1. She loves the bottle based hydration because it enables her to mix in hydration products easily while always knowing how much she has left. Rachel also really digs the front pockets on the VP1; she’s able to carry everything she needs for her racing and training!
We’re super pumped to have Rachel on our team here at Orange Mud. Follow Rachel while she continues to crush her goals and inspire fellow runners @wisp_kelley on Instagram.