Runner Kelly Roberts Has More to Offer Than Selfies of Hot Guys

Her snaps of cute dudes at major races are hilarious, sure, but the personal story behind those silly selfies is nothing to laugh at.

November 10, 2014
Kelly Roberts

Nothing like stalking hot men to make long-distance running more fun. Just ask Kelly Roberts, the runner turned social-media sensation who's made a habit out of snapping selfies with hotties to get through major races, like the Brooklyn Half Marathon and last Sunday's New York City Marathon.

More from Fitbie: Being a New York City Marathoner Will Forever Change My Life (VIDEO)


But cute dudes aside, any girl who can log major miles with a smile on her face is worthy of a #MondayMotivation shout-out, so we reached out to Roberts for her backstory and top running tips. Ready to be seriously inspired by the girl behind (err, in front of) all those boys? Listen in!

What's the best advice you can offer for beginner runners?
Smile, because getting started sucks. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be boring, and you are going to be sore. Just set a goal, find a training plan that make sense to you, believe that you can do it, and just start putting one foot in front of the other. Just stick with it because once you develop a stride and can run three miles without stopping, that’s when the fun begins.  

When did you start running? Why did you start?
I started running Thanksgiving Day, 2012. I was a few months out of college, living with my parents, grieving the loss of my brother, struggling with my body image, and felt lost. After my brother passed, I ate to make myself feel better and at my heaviest was well over 200 pounds.

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I’d recently gotten into the habit of going to the gym anytime I started to feel down, but because it was a holiday, the gym was closed. I just felt like I needed to run, so I put on my gym shoes and took off. I didn’t even make it to the end of my block when I had to stop to walk. But instead of turning around and going home I decided to walk until I caught my breath, and then run until I lost it again. An hour and a half and three miles later, I felt a tiny bit less anxious. So the next day I did the same thing. 
What was the biggest challenge you've faced as a runner, and how did you overcome it? 
Not giving up! I am not exaggerating when I say I really hated running. Those first two or three weeks were torturous. It wasn’t fun! I was ridiculously slow, and I couldn’t run a mile without stopping! But the day I was able to run three miles without stopping changed everything. That was the day I decided I wanted to run a half marathon.

I remember I walked into my living room and told my Mom and Dad, “I am going to run a half marathon.” They laughed and said, “But you hate running.” Two months later I ran a half marathon. And four months after my first half, I ran a full marathon. After I ran a marathon I realized there really wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. It gave me the courage to move to New York and get out of my own way.

To date, how many races have you run?
Since I started running in 2012, I’ve run two marathons, eight half marathons, and a handful of 10Ks and 5Ks. 

How do you find the motivation to keep going during a race? 
Each race is different. There are some races that are just buckets of fun and feel effortless. Then there are other races that require you to work a little harder. And then there are truly terrible races that make you question why the hell you run. While I was training for the NYC Marathon I had my last long run on the day of the Staten Island Half Marathon. I ran seven miles before the race and halfway through the half marathon developed a stomachache and cramps. It was probably the worse race I’ve ever run and I wanted to quit every step of the way.

But thinking about the big picture helps. I focused on one-mile increments and I knew I at least had to walk to the finish or else I couldn’t get home. I just try to remind myself that the pain is temporary, and it’s all worth it when you cross a finish line.

What do you eat the night before and morning of a big race?
The night before a race you can find me at an Italian restaurant eating spaghetti Bolognese and bread. In the morning I eat a bagel, a banana, a Lara or Clif bar, and drink some water.  

What are 3 songs on your workout playlist that are your guilty pleasure?
I am a brand new Taylor Swift fan so right now I’m playing her new album on repeat. Otherwise my FAVORITE song on my running playlist is "Shout!" It just makes me laugh whenever it comes on and puts me in a really good mood. 

More from Fitbie: The Playlist That'll Pump Up Your Next Workout
What workout do you absolutely despise?
YOGA! Ugh and I want to like it so badly! It’s so good for you and everyone looks so cool doing it. I just can’t get into it. It’s too slow for me. Yoga and running on a treadmill. I’d rather gouge my eyes out than run on a treadmill. 

What did you eat for breakfast today? 
This morning I had a Lara Bar, the last piece of the chocolate cake my roommate made for me after the marathon (#SorryNotSorry), a banana, and an apple. 

Clearly you love using social media to share your love of running. Why? What's the coolest relationship you've formed with someone over social?
It’s funny I have been taking runfies of myself since I first started running. It was my vain way to say hey friends; look I’m a runner now! It made me feel like I was doing something I could be proud of. Then when #HottGuysOfTheNYCHalf happened -- it was a fluke. I did it because I hadn’t trained for the half marathon and I was terrified I wasn’t going to be able to finish. I did it solely to make myself laugh and to take my mind off the race.

Then when it went viral I got my blog Run, Selfie, Repeat on its feet, all these people started emailing me telling me that I inspired them to want to get active or to just have more fun. It was really incredible because the selfies are silly but at the end of the day I really want people to believe in their own self-worth and dare to take risks or fail. I was never athletic. I used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile at school. Some people are born athletes; others are made. 

Follow Roberts on Instagram and Twitter.

Are you a nutritionist, food blogger, or fitness expert with a large social media following? Email us at [email protected] or Tweet us @Fitbie using the hashtag #MondayMotivation to be featured as our next Fitbie Spotlight.

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