Teammate Kelly Gallagher sets PR at 2021 Portland Half Marathon

Kelly Gallagher’s first race was at age 5. Growing up in a Cleveland running household, Gallagher has had a lifelong connection to the sport. Over the last couple years, her relationship with running has helped her navigate the pandemic while balancing a career in healthcare. And earlier this month, she celebrated her latest milestone—breaking 1:30 at the Portland Half Marathon—after numerous attempts and being sidelined with injuries. We caught up with Gallagher to talk a bit more about her love for running, her message to other runners training for a big goal, and more!

What does running mean to you?     

I started running when I was just a wee lass (according to race number records my first race was at age 5). My Dad was my and my siblings coach in grade school so running first makes me think of my family. My parents still run with the same group of people from 20 years ago and I have so many friends that I have met through running. Running is really something that is part of my every day and I feel lucky to have grown up in a running community. 

Can you describe one of your fondest running memories?   

I loved being part of a team in high school and college and I have so many great memories traveling to races with my team. I started coaching after I graduated college. I’ve coached 3 teams and spent a few seasons coaching high school boys with my Dad (who was the head coach). Being a coach—especially with my Dad—changed my relationship with running and it’s so fun to be on that side of training. I had so much fun getting to work with that group of kids and seeing them push themselves.

You’ve been trying to break 1:30 for some time now. What made your most recent race so successful?     

 I am actually not sure, to be honest. I thought I could PR but I didn’t expect to do so by that much. I work in healthcare so having a training plan as something else to focus on during the pandemic really helped me both with my training and at work.

What was your reaction when you crossed the finish line?     

I thought the time was wrong haha. I admit I teared up a little bit when I got the little card print out with the official time.

What do you hope to accomplish now that you’ve PRed in the half?     

I’ve been injured a lot in the past few years so I am happy to be healthy enough to be running post race and keep building fitness—I am looking forward to some fun fall running, cross country and maybe a trail race. 

What’s your message to other runners who are aspiring to break 1:30 in the half?     

Consistency!!! And to give yourself some slack if you don’t hit every mile/rep; the stress and negative thoughts that happen when you feel like you aren’t having a “perfect” plan is more of a detriment to training than one missed mile. 

If you had to choose one beer from Great Notion to have for the rest of your life what would it be?     

Like the rest of the city of Portland, I got sucked into the GN app and bought way too much beer during the pandemic. If I had to choose one I think I would go with the classic Jammy Pants. Editor’s note: the description of ‘Jammy Pants’ reads: “An ode to all the parents out there and our love of fruit beers. This kettle sour was fermented with ‘pantfulls’ of marionberry, boysenberry and blueberry puree.”

Fun Fact?   

I am from Cleveland and talk about it all the time. 

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