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Ali on the Run Show

Mar 23, 2023

"It comes to a point where you are so tired and you’re just constantly irritable. And I was not prepared for that!"

The last time professional distance runner Erika Kemp was on the Ali on the Run Show, the six-time collegiate All-American and multiple-time USATF national champion was on a racing hot streak, earning multiple regional and national titles and earning wins from the 5K up to the 20K. Erika has had a hugely successful career since going pro in 2018 and signing with the B.A.A. High Performance team and adidas — but, she says, she hasn't yet had that breakout, defining performance. Might it be just around the corner? With a new team, new coach, and new sponsor, Erika is about to take on her longest challenge yet. She's now a Brooks Running-sponsored athlete, she's being coached by Kurt Benninger (Molly Huddle's husband!), and she's gearing up to make her 26.2-mile racing debut at the Boston Marathon next month. In this conversation, Erika talks about all of her recent life changes, shares how she's feeling as her mileage continues to increase, and talks about the LOL-worthy detours along the way. Plus, her take on the pressures and expectations that come with making a marathon debut, and what she's doing about those pesky 3 AM hunger pangs.


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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • Erika recaps her race at the NYC Half this past weekend (2:45)
  • What Erika’s training is like right now (8:30)
  • Erika talks about leaving the B.A.A. High Performance Team, and what went into the decision to sign with Brooks Running and train with Kurt Benninger (9:30)
  • What training with Kurt has been like so far (20:00)
  • How marathon training is going so far — including a slight mishap on a recent long run — and the best advice Erika has received about how to ace her Boston Marathon debut (23:05)
  • The pressure and expectations that come with debuting in a new distance (32:00)
  • What has surprised Erika the most about marathon training so far (36:40)
  • What Erika is loving most about her marathon training journey (41:30)
  • On being a beginner again (45:30)
  • The post-Boston plan: Erika's moving to Providence! (50:40)

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