High School: North Rockland Class of 1990
College: SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Empire State & United States Marine Corp
Current Employer: Clarkstown Police Department
Current Town: New City
Over the past 12 years, New City resident Andrew Kelly has been challenging his physical endurance by competing in extreme competition including this past weekend's .
This long distance race consists of a 2.4 mile-swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run (marathon). Kelly crossed the finish line in 11 hours and 55 minutes after the gun shot to start the race. He finished 600th overall and 112th in the 40-44 age group.
Most people would shudder from the thought of participating in one of these events never mind completing all three in the same day. But for Kelly, the challenge never gets tiresome.
He has competed in the following long distance races:
- 3 Ironman Competitions
- 3 NYC marathons
- The Northface Endurance Challenge - 30 mile trail race
- The Northface Endurance Challenge - 50 mile trail ultra race
- The Vermont 50 mile Trail marathon
- The Vermont 100 mile Trail Ultra marathon
For the Vermont 100-mile race, Kelly helped raise more than $35,000, for the Wounded Warrior Project. Combining just the above mentioned races, he has run close to 400 miles, never mind the training that goes into each of the races.
Most athletes would agree that the training is the challenging part. Finding the time to train and get in shape while still maintaining a balance of family and work life requires a lot of hard work, dedication and support.
"I would usually wake up very early about 4 a.m. for the long training rides or runs to minimize being away. My wife, Colleen, also helps by being supportive and doing things with the kids so I can go train. It's tough sometimes because you are away from the family while you are out there training. The best time to train however, is when the kids are in school and I'm working evenings," said Kelly.
It's truly an amazing inspiration to have the desire to keep pushing your body and mind year after year by competing in such races. The gruelling workout and training sessions have yet to hinder Kelly's drive to keep going.
"I like to challenge myself. It helps to keep me healthy and in shape. I may do another (Ironman) when I'm 50. Also, when you go to these races and you see people who have real challenges, such as amputees, blindness and old age, they inspire me to do something with myself. Life is too short to sit around and do nothing."
Kelly is far from a do-nothing kind of guy. He is a born athlete. Playing football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse in high school, then lacrosse in college until he went into the United States Marine Corp (USMC).
"As the youngest of six kids I wanted to do something exciting and I was always very patriotic. The outbreak of the first Gulf War made the decision of when to join and that's what I did," said Kelly on his decision to join the USMC.
"I joined the infantry and then tried out for Marine Recon which is like the special forces of the Marines. The training was more focused on mental fortitude, extreme physical/psychological discipline and success regardless of the obstacle."
Perhaps the USMC training and discipline has laid the foundation for his ability to continue to take on such extreme challenges.
"The hardest part of the race is the preparation. When the gun goes off it's a great experience from beginning to end. The human body is capable of anything with a little push. Through my experience, the only thing that limits people's ability is their mind. With proper preparation, both physical and mental, everything is possible. The most thrilling part of the race is seeing Colleen (Kelly) and the kids along the route," said Kelly. "Colleen, who is also in great shape, puts together some inspirational Go Gear, signs, giant photos of my big head and funny outfits. She does a fantastic job and the kids seem to love it. Hopefully some of my insanity will rub off on my kids and we can all do the Ironman in 10 years."
Kelly's three children Morgan, 12, Kate, 10, and Jack, 9, were behind their father 110 percent cheering him on at different locations along the race route. In fact, the day after the race was Jack's birthday party where Kelly was back in dad mode helping out with the birthday celebrations.
After travelling to places like Lake Placid and Vermont to compete in these races Kelly was ecstatic that the Ironman was coming to NYC.
"When I heard the Ironman was coming to NYC I had to jump on board. Riding on the Palisades Interstate Parkway was the pinnacle."
For Kelly being in top physical shape translates to his work as a Clarkstown Police Officer.
"In September 2008, shortly after the Vermont 100 mile ultra marathon, I ran down a deported felon attempting to shop at the Palisades Center Mall with a NYC fireman's identity."
That prompted Rockland Magazine to name Kelly the 'Second Most Famous and Influential Person in Rockland' in their annual 2008 magazine.
When asked about the sewage incident a few days before the race, Kelly shrugged it off. "Too much volume in the Hudson to worry."
With the full support of his family, Kelly has been able to juggle training for races, work and his family. As supportive as they are, they do have to sacrifice time spent with him and work around his schedule.
"It's not easy, especially when we get closer to the race, but we have made it a way of life," said his wife Colleen. "We make time for each other to to participate in a race here and there. He gives time to me, and I him. I ran the Hook Mountain 13.1 last October, and Andrew supported me. My accomplishments are on a smaller scale but we push each other to try and stay healthy."
Andrew and Colleen are two very healthy role models for their three children. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments!
Editor's Note: Clarkstown Police Chief Chief Michael Sullivan praised Kelly and the other Ironman participants.
“I am tremendously awed by all of these remarkable athletes and particularly proud that one of our own officers successfully competed in this physically and mentally demanding event,” said Sullivan.