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Runner Spotlight: Professional Triathlete and Running/Triathlon Coach Kelly Fillnow

Our next two Runner Spotlight features will profile identical twins Kelly and Meghan Fillnow. Between the two sisters their resume includes competing in collegiate sports, Boston Marathon finishes, Ironman World Champion finishes, a triathlon/running coaching business and much, much more. Let's meet Kelly first!

Kelly received a tennis scholarship to Davidson College and played number one singles and doubles for four straight years. She discovered a love for running during her time at Davidson and joined the cross country team. Kelly led Davidson to their first ever Southern Conference Title. A few years after college, Kelly completed her first triathlon in 3rd place. She went on to win her first half ironman and has finished on the podium in her two Hawaii Ironman appearances. Kelly is also a Duathlon Age Group World Champion, a Duathlon National Age Group Champion and set the American amateur Ironman record in her third Ironman.

Kelly has decided to turn professional and is looking forward to pushing herself against the top triathletes in the world.

Around five years ago, Kelly began coaching other athletes and started a running and triathlon coaching business, Fillnow Coaching. Both Kelly and Meghan are coaches and work with athletes of all ability levels...whether training for their first 10K or competitively racing.

What is your day job: Professional triathlete, Business Owner (fillnowcoaching.com), & Coach

How long have you been running: I began running my sophomore year of college.

How did you get into running: My tennis teammate at Davidson asked my sister and me to run a 5k before practice. I complained at first but then fell in love with running, even though running was always considered punishment in all of my sports!

What’s your favorite race distance: 3k Steeplechase + Ironman triathlon

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What’s your favorite local running route: Davidson College trails and McMullen Greenway.

What style of running shoes do you wear: I rotate between the Brooks Launch, Brooks Ghosts, Brooks Pureflow, and Brooks PureConnect! I mix it up every run!

What’s your must-have running gear: Timex Ironman Sleek 50-lap watch.

What’s your favorite music to run to: Hillsong, Sidewalk Prophets

Are you a morning, lunch break or evening runner: My favorite time to run is 11am!

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What’s one food you couldn’t live without: Natural honey roasted peanut butter.

What’s your favorite place to hang out/refuel after a run: Mellow Mushroom, Cowfish, Tupelo Honey.

What’s your favorite way to cross train: I love the intense workouts my trainers at United States Performance Center put me through!

What’s your most embarrassing running moment: Before my first cross country race for Davidson, I told my coach I would be too tired to race the 5k if I warmed up 2 miles!

What’s your proudest running achievement: When I finished third at conference and helped Davidson to their first ever Southern Conference Title. Then finishing All-Region at Duke while helping the team to an undefeated season until our third place finish at nationals.

What’s your best running advice: My best running advice was originally: “Running is truly a gift. Embrace the gift.” But then I saw that my twin said the exact same thing! So my advice is to run for you! Try not to compare your pace or times to other people, but instead focus on staying within yourself! Try to be the best that you can be, regardless of what the people around you are doing. Ask more from yourself by setting challenging goals. If you challenge yourself, growth will happen and you can reach places you never dreamed were possible!

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