Run Tromso: Graham Kelly on running the Sky Race dreamed up by Kilian and Emelie

Ben Race: photo by Bob Wiseman

We’re delighted to welcome mountain runner Graham Kelly to the TrailFest2 line-up.

With 136 Scottish Hill Races under his belt, Graham will be a familiar face (or beard!) to many. Further afield, his raceography includes some of the worlds most legendary events: he has completed the Marathon des Sables (2008); the North Face 100km in Australia’s Blue Mountains (2010) and the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco in Mexico’s Copper Canyon (2013) as well as Tromso (2016): the skyrace created by Kilian Jornet & Emelie Forsberg. His UK ultra finishes include the Tour de Helvellyn, The Fling, Devil o’ the Highlands and Jedburgh Three Peaks.

Read on (below) for Graham’s interview about all things trail running, and what it means to him. Find him on twitter at @tae_the_north and check out his blog here.

Photo: thanks to Graeme Hewitson
Photo: thanks to Graeme Hewitson

TF: When did you start trailrunning?
GK: Mountains have always been part of my life but around the time I hit my 30th birthday, I noticed that getting up the summits was getting harder. Started road running to stay fit for the mountains which led to trail running which in turn led to mixing it with mountain running and the occasional ultra-distance event.

TF: What do you run for?
GK: Mainly to maintain health both physical and mental but it has also taken me to some beautiful places around the world and met some truly incredible people.

TF: What’s your proudest running (or running-related) achievement?
GK: Finishing the 2008 Marathon des Sables – a gateway event that opened a whole bag of future adventures.

TF: What’s been your bleakest moment running?
GK: A DNF at the 2014 Thames Path Hundred Miler – pulling out at 77.5 miles.

TF: What did you learn from this?
GK: Two things – that I hadn’t done enough specific training and that I have some amazing friends who gave unquestioning support before, during and after the event.

TF: What do you think of when the trails get tough?
GK: I broke my ankle early last year: no matter how tough running a trail is, not running is tougher.

TF: What is your next big adventure?
GK: Fastpacking the Tour du Mont Blanc route with my girlfriend Katie to finish in time to spectate the UTMB, Ben Nevis Hill Race in early September, Glen Coe Skyline (part of the World Skyrunner Extreme Race Series) in mid September.

TF: Who is your running inspiration?
GK: My Dad – I grew up seeing him with a simple passion for running. We’ve spent countless miles together and that connection kept us friends throughout our lives.

TF: What three words would you use to describe your relationship to running?
GK: Adventure, exploration, dirty

TF: What one piece of advice would you give to others?
GK: Running has so many aspects – find what you enjoy and you’ll be good at it.


Graham joins us at TrailFest2 to present Run Tromso: with Graham Kelly.

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