Kelly Jaske didn’t run in high school. She didn’t run in college. But the 32-year-old placed 2nd at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last Sunday anyway.
On how she transitioned from a fitness runner to a competitive runner, Jaske, a Harvard Law graduate, says, “I started jogging to go backpacking one summer. I remember I was so proud of myself when I ran my first 4 miles without having to walk. That was how I started: I just wanted to get into shape. I had been jogging a few years and then I started running with some people at the law firm where I worked, and just running with them made me see that there is this other side of it—racing to compete instead of just having fun things to shoot for. Running with those folks really inspired me. They made me want to get faster; that’s really what changed it. Frankly, had it not been for them, I’d still be just out doing my jogs. It made it something totally different for me. It has turned from something that I did just to stay in shape into something that matters, and I love it.”
Jaske will now be offered a spot on the U.S. team at the World Half Marathon Championships in England this fall. She is being coached by Brad Hudson, a renowned U.S. distance coach whose is in charge of the Marathon Performance Training Group, and trains in Portland, Oregon.