Jed Kelley has a thing for vintage New Balance shoes, but he hates to run. In fact, his disdain for running is what led him to triathlon in the first place. His workout buddy (shout out to another Axes sponsor, Dr. Joe Pitcavage of Lowcountry Eye Care!) loves running. One summer when it was particularly hot, Jed (who was a swimmer as a kid) suggested that they swim instead. Once they were doing some swimming and some running, a sprint triathlon seemed like the next logical challenge.
At that first sprint race, while unloading his borrowed bike and other gear, Jed ran into a neighbor who warned him: “Next thing you know, you’re going to be addicted and you’re going to have all this STUFF.” To which Jed replied: “Not me! Not a chance.” Fast forward four years, and you can probably guess what happened. He’s still training and racing triathlon… and indeed he has all the “stuff.” But he still hates running.
As a busy orthodontist – Kelley & Gardner Orthodontics has a well-loved practice with two offices in Mt. Pleasant, SC – Dr. Kelley recognizes how triathlon training suits him. The dedication, organization, and attention to detail that it takes to run a successful dental office are the same traits that it takes to be a triathlete. And he appreciates the structure and the stress management that training provides, which allows him to be fully present professionally and as a husband and father to his three (also busy) kids.
At some point after those first sprint races, Jed decided to try the 70.3 distance. “At that point, I decided I probably need to know what I’m doing,” he remembers. That’s when he got connected with Coach Brad Johnson at Axes, and they have been working together ever since. Jed appreciates the confidence that having a coach brings. “I like to go into a race feeling prepared,” he explains. “Having a coach eliminates worrying about whether I did the right training from the equation.”
The 70.3 distance turned out to be the sweet spot for Jed. It’s long enough to feel like a big challenge, but not so long that the training becomes unmanageable with his professional and family life. “I’m a guy that does ALL my training sessions,” he says. And that dedication paid off recently at Ironman 70.3 New York. Tropical Storm Ophelia wreaked havoc on the conditions for the race, but Jed nearly hit his bike and run goals regardless. “I feel like each race I do is memorable for different reasons. Gulf Coast was meaningful because it was my first 70.3. North Carolina was great because it was so fast, and my family was able to come to that one. Blue Ridge was memorable because I was so proud to conquer that hill.” And New York will certainly be memorable because he persevered through a tropical storm!
As any triathlete knows – and his neighbor tried to warn him at that very first race – triathlon training has a way of sucking us in. Jed says that he appreciates the impact that endurance training has on his life. “I just really enjoy the training. At some point, it just became part of who I am.” And that’s why he’s happy to sponsor Axes. As an orthodontist, he gets asked to sponsor just about every team in town. “I love what I do, and I enjoy the kids,” he says. “Whenever a kid asks me to sponsor their team I do it. So I’m just really glad to be able to support Axes because it’s something that I love to do.”
We’re happy to have Dr. Jed Kelley on the Axes team, and we are grateful to Kelley & Gardner Orthodontics for their support!