In 2014, Kelly Roberts made headlines running the New York City Half while snapping selfies with unsuspecting hot dudes along the way. Urged on by others, Kelly capitalized on the moment and created her blog Run, Selfie, Repeat. Before long, Kelly had become a beacon for body positivity and an inspiration to everyone around her. Kelly states that her mission is “to inspire others to embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.” Kelly sends a clear message that although her journey began as one of weight-loss, she now believes that it’s not about losing weight and fitting a societal norm—it’s about becoming the strongest, perfectly imperfect version of yourself.
In between training for the London Marathon and balancing work and life, Kelly took the time to answer some questions for us to share with our Lane 9 community!
Why did you start running and what made you stick with it?
I started running because I was really desperate to escape how miserable I’d become. I had just graduated from college, I realized I didn’t think I was brave enough to take the rejection that comes with a life as an actor, so I moved home to live with my parents and wait until my life figured itself out. I was so lost and unsure of myself at the time. And to fill the time I had after I got home from work and when I went to bed, I started running. I immediately drank the Koolaid and fell in love with how empowered I felt as I worked towards becoming a runner. I thought it would be impossible, and week by week, I got stronger. I’d quit a few weeks in, miss it, try again. And then quit. And try again. And eventually, I endured.
What is the biggest (life/health/personal) lesson running has taught you?
Strength doesn’t look a certain way, it feels a certain way.
What is your favorite mile on a long run? Why?
Oh, it totally depends on the day. If I’m with fun friends who push the pace, the first mile is my favorite, because I can chat comfortably before struggling to keep up. But I also love the last mile because it means it’s almost over and there’s this countdown of how hard can I go right now–that always makes me feel strong as hell.
I recently made a personal pledge to the #SportsBraSquad. Can you explain the #SportsBraSquad to our community, and what it means to you?
The #SportsBraSquad is a movement I launched to encourage women of all shapes and sizes to ditch their shirts along with their insecurities. Because regardless of what size you are, we all struggle with body image, and redefining what strength looks like is our responsibility. It isn’t one size fits all. There’s so much freedom and power in seeing your strong body represented. It’s all about embracing and loving your body for what it can do and where it’s at today, while working towards an even stronger and healthier tomorrow.
Because regardless of what size you are, we all struggle with body image and redefining what strength looks like is our responsibility.
You’ve been working your ass off to achieve the ‘impossible’ goal you set of running a BQ(Boston Qualifier). Aside from that, what do you hope to accomplish through running?
First, I hope to help women embrace or discover their power through running. There is something really transformative about running a distance you were certain you would never be strong enough to complete. And running is such an incredible way to cope with the hardships life throws our way. When we as women know our strength, it’s a lot easier to feel less dependent or intimidated when life pulls the rug out from under us.
Running is such an incredible way to cope with the hardships life throws our way.
Second, I want to help people get active. I believe the statistic is 1 in 3 Americans are obese, and we have to change that. I used to be obese. I understand how hard it is to feel like you’re capable of making a change. But it isn’t about losing weight to fit a societal norm, it’s about being the strongest and healthiest versions of ourselves possible.
As you’re so active and transparent on social media, have you ever been confronted with (for lack of a better word) ‘haters’? If so, how do you deal with that yet remain true to yourself?
I think because I share my shame so openly, it takes some of the power away from would be haters. I’m lucky, the women and men who have joined me on this crazy journey are really supportive. And when they disagree with me or if they don’t really understand what I’m doing or saying, they let me know. This is incredible because I really appreciate constructive criticism. I recently watched a key note speech Brené Brown gave about criticism, and what she said really resonated with me:
“If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I don’t want your criticism. If you’re in the cheap seats, not putting yourself on the line, I don’t want your feedback.” -Brené Brown
The message you send is one of body positivity and self-love. What is the most difficult part of self-love for you? What advice can you give to women and girls working to be more body positive?
The hardest part and the best part about self love is that it’s a lifelong battle. It’s just like a muscle, the more actively you work on it, the healthier and stronger it will be. But if you neglect it, it’s going to be weak. I used to pour myself into running because I was convinced I’d lose weight and look as strong as I felt. And that my weight loss would help me feel happy and confident. But that’s not how it works. You have to work every single day to see yourself as you are. We all should be our own biggest cheerleaders.
You have to work every single day to see yourself as you are. We all should be our own biggest cheerleaders.
Speaking of self-love, what do love most about yourself?
My sense of humor. I don’t take myself too seriously. I learned very early on that laughter is the only thing that can save me from really difficult situations.
Where can our readers find you to support you in your running adventures?
Thank you, Kelly. We love following your work and spreading your message to active women. We’ll be cheering you on as you run 26.2 miles through London!
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If you want to share your story, get in touch with us through the form or by emailing Lane9Project@gmail dot com.