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Contributed Photo by Kellye Tilford / Robin Crump and Ginny Kelly

Ginny Kelly wears a lot of hats — enthusiastically. She serves on three Chattanooga nonprofits, acts as the race director for Rock/Creek Races, and is currently working on her husband Tim Kelly's mayoral campaign. Here, she dons her race director hat to help people get safely back on the trail.

Q: We're seeing a lot of folks knocking the dust off their road shoes or lacing up for their first trail run after the pandemic. If you could give them one piece of advice, what would it be?

Take your time.

Q: Running during the summer is a challenge, especially in our area. How do you train in the hot and humid weather, and is it possible to — dare we say — enjoy it?

You can enjoy it! Staying hydrated and running with friends is vital. Being out on trails is such a bonus because so many of the trails are shaded.

Q: I've been running consistently, but I feel "stuck." How do I get out of this slump?

Finding a new route always gets me out of a slump. Chattanooga has so many gorgeous trails to explore. I also like to mix a bit of trail and road just to keep it interesting.

Q: I want to start running, but I don't want to run by myself. Are there any running groups or clubs in Chattanooga for a beginner?

Absolutely! Scenic City Trail Runners is a great group that's for newbies and seasoned trail runners on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I lead an all-paces-welcome 5K road run at Chattanooga Brewing Company every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Chattanooga Track Club, Fast Break, Fleet Feet and Brewhaus all have weekly runs downtown.

Q: I've read that cross-training can help me become a better runner. What kind of cross-training do you prefer, and what would you recommend trying?

I love the conditioning classes at Get Built. They are a mix of rowing, assault bike, box jumps, kettlebells, burpees and so much more.

Q: Nutrition can make or break a long run. Do you have any advice for those eyeing gels and chews for the first time?

They all taste different. Pick a few gels and try them out on some medium-distance runs. You'll quickly know what you don't like, haha!

Q: Music while running ... yes or no?

Music takes away the magic of the trail but helps with the monotony of the road.

Q: How should I stay hydrated on the trails/road?

Carry a handheld, belt or pack. I love the Salomon Advanced Skin 8 for women.

Q: What are your favorite places to run in Chattanooga?

All of the trails on Lookout Mountain are beautiful. The Riverwalk is great and offers the option of the greenway. Lula Lake and Cloudland Canyon are right outside of Chattanooga and are also some of my favorite places to run.

Q: In your opinion, which Rock/Creek race should every runner attempt?

Definitely Stump Jump. It's a fantastic race weekend that offers a 10-mile course and a 50K course. Preview runs happen before the race so every runner can run sections of the course before race day.

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