The Last Mile is Never Crowded: Kellie Harrington on roadwork, mindset and relief.

Reigning lightweight Olympic Champion, Kellie Harrington, is counting down the days to Paris 2024 by sharing how she makes sure she is one of the few in the final strides to victory.

Kellie, after her semi-final in Tokyo, said “The last mile is never crowded and that’s the way it does feel sometimes. It does feel very lonely, but I suppose that’s the difference to be able to hold on in there and keep it going.” It is that instinct, that perseverance and drive, that brought her gold. And, she added before her Olympic final “I’ve had heartbreak. I know what it is to fail and I know how hard it is to pick yourself back up after that. This is why I am who I am, and why I am here today, because I’m not afraid of failure. I know what it is. I’m Kellie Harrington. I’m myself and I make my own pathway.”

Kellie became a double Olympian during the 2023 European Games – where she qualified for Paris and came home with lightweight gold. Throughout this series, as Kellie prepares for the Paris Games, she will share the habits she has built, in the ring, in training and in life, that set her apart.

This includes how she stays motivated, how she uses nutrition, S&C and roadwork to make the most of her boxing skills, how she plans her training within the High Performance framework, how she balances a demanding training schedule, her self-care and mental health practices.

In an illustrious career, Kellie has won Olympic and World gold, World silver, European Championships gold and bronze, European Games gold, European Union silver, numerous gold at Strandja and 11 Irish National Elite titles. In the first episode of The Last Mile is Never Crowded, Kellie talks about roadwork – how its not her cup of tea, but that the benefits to her in fitness, in mindset and in the ring, are incredible:

“Honestly, roadwork, its not my cup of tea, at all. But, I know – actually, before I have a running session; if we have a running session on Wednesday, before on Tuesday, the night before, I’ll be tossing and turning with the anxiety of having roadwork on a Wednesday morning. It really isn’t my cup of tea. I’m not the worst at it but I get so – I get a knot in my tummy before I do it. But I also know that it’s so beneficial and I feel if I’m doing roadwork, it’s specific roadwork – I’m not going out and pounding the pavements. Everything is specific to what we are doing. Our (S&C) Coach, John Cleary, he would have our running programme sorted for us before we even turn up. So, it could be three 3 minutes – and you’ve to, not go all out because it’s impossible to do that, but go fast, maybe 90% of your pace for the three minutes. Other times, then, we’ll do 3 800s. So, we should be getting them under 3 minutes by the time it comes around to doing 3 800s. So, when I’m finished, after all that anxiety the night before and turning up and absolutely dreading it, I’m just so happy and relieved that it’s been and its done. But I also use it when I’m running – it’s a mindset thing, because running, for me, is extremely hard. So, I feel like, if I’m able to get up, drag myself to the running track and do that session then I can totally get up, drag myself to that ring and fight anyone in the world.”

In the first episode, Kellie shared how she continues to find her motivation at this stage in her career: