We like to mix things up a little here at Fast Running, so we’ve included Erika Kelly, an international race walker, in the 2020 Fast10 as well. 

Another Isle of Man native, like fellow Fast10er Ollie Lockley, Kelly has competed at the Commonwealth Games and there is certainly more than race walking to the multi-talented athlete’s repertoire.

Profile

Name: Erika Kelly
Age (Jan 2020): 27
Hometown: Maughold, Isle of Man
Club: Northern AC
Main discipline: 20km Race Walk
Other disciplines: 3-10km Race Walk
Full-time athlete/work/studying: Full-time athlete/ Professional harpist / Studying BSc Psychology & Counselling

Goals or targets for 2020

· To become a mentally stronger, more consistent and robust athlete.
· Improve 10km and 20km times towards a higher world ranking for Tokyo 2020.
· To represent Great Britain and England again, whilst gaining more experience and insight – Olympics/World Team Championships/European meets.
· To make the most of more learning and training opportunities.
· To complete my degree.

Past Walking highlights

· Top-10 finish at 2018 Commonwealth Games
· 2019 debut representing Great Britain at the European Race Walking Cup
· Becoming National Champion over 3000m, 10km and 20km
· Manx Records – 1 mile, 3km, 5km, and 20km
· The places racing and training takes you

Interesting or fun facts

· Once upon a time, I released an EP and got to No. 5 in the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, sandwiched in between George Ezra and Ben Howard.
· I’m a twin.
· I used to do judo, play hockey, netball, and fancied myself as a sprinter, hurdler, and high jumper growing up. How things (drastically) change…
· I’m registered visually impaired with a degenerative eye condition.

Photo: Taken by athlete’s friend

I walk because…

I turned up to what I thought was a running session one evening, which actually turned out to be a race walking session. Whilst initially not keen, I kept at it, and things seemed to progress very quickly. After a year dabbling in the sport, I ended up with my first England vest and realised there could be some potential.

In making and achieving mini goals, I realised a lot of doors to opportunities were opening, and decided to target Commonwealth Games, thinking it was pretty ambitious, and somewhat unrealistic – achieving that goal and getting there was unreal! Training and racing gives me purpose, self-belief, so much fulfilment, and drives my motivation and enthusiasm in other aspects of life – such as studying for a degree and acknowledging that declining vision doesn’t have to be a barrier. I don’t know what I’d do without the sport now.

Training

Favourite training session: Long walks exploring new routes.
Least favourite training session: Short, super fast reps with minimal recovery – they’re a killer.

Favourite race day food

Favourite pre-race food: How do I choose between pasta and pizza?!
Favourite post-race food: An ice cold Coke.

Favourite runner or runners [We should have asked about walkers too, sorry! – Ed.]

Ollie Lockley… HaHaaa

Brands or organisations that support me

IOM Sport Aid; Northern AC; and Rex Leasing.

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