If you added up all the marathons WRAL anchor Kelcey Carlson has run, it would total 17 races and nearly 450 miles. She has pounded the pavement in cities across the U.S.
Earlier this month, Kelcey finished the City of Oaks marathon in Raleigh with a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes and 13 seconds, her personal best. She was the second woman to cross the finish line after the grueling 26.2 mile race.
In July, Kelcey took first place among women in the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, which is billed as "one of America's toughest marathons."
She has run the Boston marathon three times, Grandfather Mountain three times, Detroit twice, City of Oaks twice, Myrtle Beach twice and once in Chicago, Nashville, Richmond, New Hampshire and Indiana.
I asked Kelcey to share her story and tell us how she got interested in running.
"I was a swimmer growing up, but once I went off to college, jumping into a pool wasn't exactly convenient," she said. "I ran a bit here and there in college, but never had a routine to it. After college, I started running regularly as a cheap way to stay in shape."
Kelcey ran her first 5K (3.1 miles) in 1997 when her TV station in Michigan, WWMT, sponsored a Race for the Cure event.
"I was hooked!" she said. "After a co-worker of mine trained for a marathon through Team in Training, I thought, 'I can do that.' Foolishly, I (under) trained for the Detroit Marathon in 2001 by myself. I had to start walk/running at mile 18, and I was in some serious pain for days. A year later, I joined a marathon training group through a local running store and I have loved running marathons since."
Each race has a special meaning for her.
"I love the City of Oaks marathon," she said. "It's fun to see so many people I know in one place. The Race for the Cure is the most uplifting. It's a reminder that races are more than just a run. But my favorite is Boston. The crowd and the history there are tough to beat."
"Running a marathon is like being in a parade on foot," she added. "It's a great way to see a city at a slower pace. You'll see things you'd never notice in a car."
Kelcey says her proudest accomplishment is qualifying for the Boston marathon under the men's standard.
"But really, just getting out there every day is an accomplishment," she said. "I love running, because it allows me to start and finish something. We all need little goals in life to achieve that feeling! I'm a list person. I love to say Task: Completed!"
Kelcey trains by running five days a week, one of which is a long run that lasts anywhere from 13 to 20 miles. For those who don't share her love of running, she has some advice.
"If you hate to run but want to love it, sign up for races! Do a Turkey Trot. Sign up for the Krispy Kreme Challenge," she said. "Having a goal staring you in the face will make you get out there. When you do the race, you'll get the adrenaline rush you're after."