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Kellyn Taylor, Mom, Pro Runner, Has a Lot to Juggle. Here’s How She Gets It All Done

Even for elite athletes, navigating what comes next during a pandemic is confusing and murky.

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Northern Arizona Elite runner Kellyn Taylor found herself struggling to find motivation when it felt like racing didn’t matter for almost a year. She took that time to explore new levels of her fitness, becoming a more well-rounded athlete. She was able to end 2020 running 31:15 for 10,000 meters at the Track Meet and 2:25:22 at the Marathon Project. We caught up with Taylor on how she’s able to keep up the momentum.

A Day in the Life of Kellyn Taylor

Taylor, 34, keeps her day pretty precise to make sure everyone in her busy house can be where they need to be on time. She wakes up around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. before her 10-year-old daughter and younger foster kids wake up.

“That’s usually my main goal, just so I can sneak downstairs and make my coffee and not have anybody lurking about for at least 15 to 25 minutes.” (She thrives on coffee.) After the kids are up, fed, and ready to go, she’s out the door by 7:45 a.m. That gives her just enough time to drop the kids off and get to her NAZ Elite practice by 8:30 a.m. “I’ve got pretty hard-set times just so I can try to not be late,” she says.

She trains with the team, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, six days a week, putting in hard efforts from the get-go. “I’m kind of one of those people that I show up for practice and I’m there for practice. I’ll be 100 percent in it when I’m there, but the second that we’re done, I’m done.”

Her Support Team

Being a mom and professional runner requires extra hands for sure (like daycare). Taylor also leans on her husband. “He gets the weekends when I have my workouts or my long runs and stuff. He’s kind of stuck with the whole crew.”

And if her teammate Stephanie Bruce is in town when Taylor is not, she’ll take a turn in helping out with the kids. “She’s always been super helpful in regards to that.” Her coach, Ben Rosario, also offers the flexibility that busy parents need, like letting her do her workout from home if the daycare is closed.

Pushing Herself

In October 2020, Taylor was invited to compete in the Spartan Games. She joined 23 other athletes from a wide range of sports in four days of competition. Events included open water swimming, a trail ultra run, obstacle course racing, mountain biking, wrestling, and more. In the midst of a lackluster year, it was just what she needed. “It was something that got me excited and I was like, ‘Well, let’s just go and see what happens.’”

 

She estimates that she fell off her bike 80 times in the course of five hours, had it land on her head once, and almost fell off the side of the mountain. But she survived. “It’s one of those things where everything was a little bit scary, but that’s what made it exciting.”

During the games she saw lapses in other areas of fitness outside of running. It made her want to become stronger as a runner and athlete.

Next Up for Kellyn Taylor

Like the rest of us since the pandemic hit, Taylor’s life has been filled with a lot of maybes. Maybe she’ll go back to school to get her masters in emergency management. Maybe she’ll get a job as a firefighter. Maybe she’ll run a road race or two if something comes up.

Maybe she’ll get the chance to earn an Olympic spot. She’s hit the standard and is set to compete in the 10,000 meters in the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials. “I would like to run some 5,000s, that would be fun. Try and hit the standard there,” she says. She’s juggling a lot of maybes—because she’s open to opportunity.

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