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Kelley: The pride of the long distance runner

Posted: May 30, 2008 1:19 a.m.
Updated: July 31, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Hart's Jimmy Kelley has come a long way this season.

The senior has advanced to the state finals in the 3200-meter event for the first time in his high school running career.

As a matter of fact, Kelley had never advanced further than the CIF-Southern Section Division I prelims.

Kelley qualified for the state finals on May 31 at the Masters Meet setting a mark of 9:12.80, the sixth best qualifying time in that event.

"I knew going into that race I had a chance in being in the top five," Kelley said. "I had a good shot running with some of the bet guys in the southern section."

Kelley, started the season with a knee injury but continued to train hard and focus on making it to the postseason.

It paid off, throughout the season, Kelley set four personal records in a span of 19 days and also set a school record of 9:09.30.

"I realized this was my last chance to show people what I can do. The postseason is where it matters, that's where you leave your mark" he said.

Kelley credits his success this year, to early preparation.

"The last couple of months I really focused on making it to the postseason," he said. "I wasn't quite as focused in previous years."

His work out regiment in the offseason consists of running 70 miles a week, while during the season he runs 60 miles.

Kelley's efforts were noticed by Pepperdine University and he was offered a scholarship to run on the cross country team this fall.

"I wanted to go somewhere that had a good environment for running," he said.

And Kelley said there's only one thing that keeps him motivated- The other guys he competes with.

"The fact that I've run so much this year and put in so much hard work," he said. "I know I deserve it, I'm not intimidated."

Saturday's finals will pose challenging for Kelley, but he's taking it all in stride-literally.

"I'm excited. Just making it to state is a big deal.I think I'm going to do very well. I just have to do what I've been doing for the last couple of weeks."

Kelley plans on taking time off from training after Saturday's final and enjoying his time as a high school graduate.

"I'm doing my best to enjoy everything and soak it all in. I realize how well things are going and I'm going to take it easy and have fun enjoying the first couple of weeks of summer."


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