Kelsey Bragg - Athlete Ambassador
Kelsey is an athlete who has battled multiple injuries, but hasn't let that define her athletic career. She talks to Sundried about training and racing
Have you always been into sport?
I have been in sport as long as I can remember. Always a very active child growing up. Basketball was my first love and I dabbled in every sport I could: football, volleyball, lacrosse, track-and-field, and cross-country. I even started collecting gym kit from a young age and would workout as a hobby.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I first got into triathlon the year I moved from Michigan, USA to the midlands. One of the few people I knew (other than my husband) was into triathlon and I would join her for sessions and quickly became a member of a triathlon group. I always ran but had never ridden a road bike until about four years ago. Nor had I ever open water swam. I really enjoy the variance in triathlon.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
It’s super difficult to pick a favourite. I would have to go with The Boston Marathon (the US version). The atmosphere is truly unlike any event I’ve ever done. The whole city really shows up for the event and you feel like a celebrity.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement came at the Boston Marathon in the USA in 2017. I ran the event in 2013, the year of the bombing, and it was really important for me to return to the event. I completed the marathon in 2:50:12, a PB, which still stands as my best. The most magical part was having my husband and parents at the finish to celebrate my achievement.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Oh yes! Actually, my first triathlon was done on a pelvic stress fracture. I had taken a couple of weeks off prior to the event in hopes it was just a groin strain (as I was told after an x-ray). I was in absolute agony on the run but was determined to finish. I did but it cost me a few years of setbacks. Even with the pain though, I still loved it! I also have had too many bathroom disasters to count. One very bad time when I was almost finished with a marathon but desperately needed the toilet. I saw an outbuilding, which was a toilet, except it was locked! My body recognised it as a toilet though and… well…I left some shame beside the building…It also meant I missed a sub 3 hour marathon by 18 seconds. I also took part in the Ride London a few years ago when it was absolutely biblical out. I remember trying to go to the bathroom, but I was shaking so badly from the cold I could barely get my bib shorts down. Had a few punctures on that ride as well. Still finished with a smile!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I have had one setback after the other over the past few years. It started out with a pelvic stress fracture. I started to come back and then re-fractured the area. I then suffered a hip stress reaction a few months upon trying to return to sport. In all honesty, I handled it all very poorly in the beginning. I found myself incredibly depressed and isolating myself from my athletic friends. I had so much jealousy and even resentment for those able to participate in the events I couldn’t at that time. I finally pulled myself out of it a bit and focused on what I could do. This led me to completing a few open water swimming events, including two 10km swims, joining a local cycling club, completing too many sportives to count, and working on my strength. I have a whole new appreciation for sport and my health. I think setbacks truly set us up for even bigger things.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Not to compare my journey with those around me. It’s hard not to feel intimidated by others that have been in the sport way longer or have a lot more advanced kit than you. It truly doesn’t matter though. What matters is doing the sport for the right reasons. For not losing the sense of joy and child-like bliss that the outdoors brings. To not take myself too seriously!
What are your goals?
Keep pushing myself further and beyond what I think my limits hold. I aim to complete a 100 mile ultramarathon in the next two years. I would love to complete one in under 24 hours as well. Eventually cross the finish line of an Ironman too! I just want to do it all really!
Who inspires you?
I am so fortunate to be surrounded by insanely talented athletes and just tremendous people. One person that inspires me probably more than most is Emily Schaller. She is approaching her 39th birthday, a birthday she never thought would come. Emily has battled cystic fibrosis for her entire life. Instead of letting it defeat her, she has absolutely thrived; setting up Rock CF, a charity that raises awareness and money for the cystic fibrosis community. Her mission is to educate and inspire through using exercise to help alleviate some of the cystic fibrosis symptoms and even prolong life. She puts on several racing events throughout the year and participates herself in running and cycling events. She is aiming to ride 100 miles in all 50 states and has already made good progress on that goal. She always has a smile and just truly makes the world a better place by existing.
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried supports everything that I stand for; from affordable and ethically sourced clothing, to donating proceeds to deserving charities. I also love the importance of exercise for its employees and really looking after physical and mental health. Truly just an all-around winner of a company and I feel incredibly honoured to endorse Sundried!
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.