By: Colin Kelly
My name is Colin Kelly. I am originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University where I was a part of the men’s cross country and track and field team. When I was in high school, I was not the best runner in the area. I had my fair share of top finishes in dual meets and was able to make it to states three times, but never was able to throw down a good time to get noticed by any colleges. I knew that I wanted to keep running in college and I had the dream to run for a school that was in Division I. I was blessed with the opportunity to walk-on to Saint Francis University’s cross country and track and field team. I knew that I had a lot of work to do coming in with PRs of 2:08 in the 800m, 4:45 in the 1600m, and 17:20.95 in the 5k. My goals were nothing crazy to some athletes, but I thought that someday I would be able to go sub 1:57 and 4:25 in the mile.
Just after one year with an amazing GA (graduate assistant), I saw crazy improvements. I had PRs of 1:54.84 and 4:36 in the mile. I could not believe the progress that I had made in just one year. My GA was giving everything that he had, and I could not be more grateful for him. It was clear from that point on that with the right coaching and the right mindset I could do anything that I put my mind to. Fast forward three years at Saint Francis, My PRs were 1:53.3, 4:16.9 in the mile, and 25:08 in the 8k. I was ready to have an amazing outdoor season when the unthinkable happened and the world went on shut-down mode. I was left in a very weird situation at Saint Francis and thought it was time to make a move somewhere else. After some thinking and talking with my family, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Mount St. Mary’s University. I knew that the coaching staff was exactly what I needed in my running career and also my college career.
Knowing that I had the right support system and the best coaching staff, I knew that I could hit the goals that I made just when I was a freshman when I first talked to my GA. We talked about having crazy goals that were attainable but not in the near future. We set the crazy goals of going sub 1:52, sub 4:20, becoming an individual conference champ and becoming a regional qualifier. When we first talked about this, we all laughed. There was no way that these goals were going to be hit, but we wanted to put it in my head for the future and to strive for something better. Many people thought I was making a huge mistake by moving over to Mount St. Mary’s for only two years.
In just two years of being at Mount St. Mary’s I achieved goals that I never knew that I was capable of doing. I would finish my collegiate career with 3 All-East appearances for indoor and outdoor track, 2 all-conference performances in cross country, a 1500m PR of 3:53, 5k PR of 15:24, 4 all-conference performances in track and field with 2 of them being individual wins in the 800m. My last race was the 800m at the IC4A meet and I finally went 1:49.61 winning the invite. I could not have been happier, until I found out that I just missed out on making the East-Regional race. I knew that this year was fast, but I never knew it would be sub 1:49 fast. At the end of the day I was upset for not being able to make it to the next level, but little did I know my journey was not over.
I am blessed to say that I get to live out another dream of mine which is to be a professional runner. I accepted a contract with the Pittsburgh Track Club. I will be able to be a full-time runner as well as a content creator for Track World News. I could not believe that I would be able to be doing something that I love full-time. It is also nice to do what I am doing coming from the area that I am from. You do not hear of a lot of people making it as far as graduating college from my school let alone becoming a professional athlete.
I look back at the journey that I had and where I started and could not be more thankful for the people that stayed in my life and the new people that I found along the way. I shocked myself with what I can do with the right people to push me and keep me accountable. It only shows that if you find the right support system and work hard, you really can do anything you want!