Finishing the World's Toughest Endurance Events: A Guide to Resilience with John Kelly


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John Kelly holds a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records, is a Chief Technology Officer, and is the 15th person to finish the Barkley Marathons. John shares stories on how he trained for the Montane Spine Race, surviving the Barkley, and how he still has time for family at the end of the day.

Who is John Kelly?

John Kelly is an ultrarunning data scientist, father of three with a former triathlon habit. He is the Chief Technology Officer of Envelop Risk, and to support his ability to do that day job with a clear mind he runs, bikes, and hikes. He also used to be a pretty serious water skier and World of Warcraft player.

John has been running most of his life. In high school he was a good, but not a great runner. During college and grad school, John essentially took a full decade off from the sport. After grad school, he rediscovered his love of the mountains on a road trip out west that included hiking the John Muir Trail with his incredible wife Jessi.

John ended up running the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, and it was an absolute disaster. It was his first race in 10 years, his longest race by 20 miles, and his training had been horribly insufficient. Of course, immediately after that, John said, “I think I can do better” and signed up for another.

John has always been a math and computer person who enjoys finding patterns and automating complex processes. An opportunity at a startup, where there was less bureaucracy and John would have more influence over research and applications, was something he couldn’t walk away from. In the summer of 2015, around the same time that he got serious about ultrarunning and triathlons, as he made the jump to become the Director of Analytics at QxBranch, a data analytics startup in downtown DC. That startup partnered with a company in the UK to create another startup, Envelop Risk, that could better deliver that product to customers and insurance partners.


[3:30] Setting a world record

[7:30] The appeal of data science

[9:55] Returning to running

[15:44] Thriving at the Barkley Marathons

[22:30] How ultra resilience transfers to everyday life

[30:06] The biggest mistakes people make with marathons

[36:15] John’s training regimen

[43:50] Sleep optimization for performance endurance

[49:45] Use data in the training

[55:38] Maintaining work-life balance


The Barkley Marathons Documentary

Barkley Marathons

Upper Kelly Camp

David Roche -Training For Busy Athletes

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Bible



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Resilient Nutrition

The guys at resilient nutrition have done a fantastic job of tackling the endurance nutrition space.

Their first product, Long Range Fuel comes with not only what they describe as Beyond Nut Butter, energy-dense food, but also nutrients to support you in your endurance endeavors.

I use for everything from cognitive endurance to my physical endurance.

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Continue Your High Performance Journey with John Kelly






This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. This is being provided as a self-help tool to help you understand your genetics, biodata and other information to enhance your performance. It is not medical or psychological advice. Virtuosity LLC, or Decoding Superhuman, is not a doctor. Virtuosity LLC is not treating, preventing, healing, or diagnosing disease. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For the full Disclaimer, please go to (

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