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February 28, 2010

Kevin O'Brien

Written by Dena Evans
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Kevin O’Brien is a resident of Fall River Mills, California (70 miles east of Redding), where he manages dispatch logistics and fertilizer billing for McArthur Farm Supply. Kevin grew up in Corning, California, before heading to Chico State University, where he graduated in 1999. Kevin has been married for nearly six years to his wife, Georgia (who coincidentally is Coach Dena’s first cousin), and has two young kids. One August day last year at a family gathering, Dena encouraged Kevin to try Focus-N-Fly as he and a few other family members where planning to attempt the Long Beach Half Marathon and he tended to do so much of his running alone in the small town where he resides.


So far, so good – Kevin is celebrating a recent personal best of 1:26 at the Surf City USA Half Marathon on February 7, 2010.

FNF: How did you start running?

KO: I started in college. I was a member of the livestock judging team, and a group of us would get up early in the morning to go for runs before competitions. I had played football in high school, but never had done any running more than just conditioning for football.

FNF: Who is your running role model?

KO: You know, I was scrolling through the previous months’ athlete profiles and was worried about this question because I don’t really have someone.

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

KO: I would have to say this most recent one (Surf City USA Half). I was hoping that I could break 1:30, but to beat it by so much and to go from 7:15s to under 7 minute pace by so much was really great. I knew I had started a bit too fast the first couple miles and expected to drop back a bit to sevens (minutes per mile), but I felt good and kept going. I was actually surprised how good I felt all the way through.

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

KO: I like the accountability. Because I log in my workouts, it is like someone is meeting me at 6am and if I don’t show up to run, they’ll know. I had never done the track routines before either, and that is probably a big part of why I am making improvements, as before I would just run pretty much the same pace. Now, I know exactly what I am supposed to do and when I am supposed to do it.

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

KO: I like to figure out which shirt, shorts, and socks I am going to wear, and have a little bit of panicking on my own about how the race is going to go. All part of the process.

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

KO: I have a 10 mile loop from my house that is pretty much flat with some rolling hills. It is mostly backroads, but it is a run where I don’t have to drive anywhere, I can just set out from my house and get the miles in. If you look carefully from our back deck, you can see me running from about five miles away.

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

KO: I hope to run 1:23 at the San Francisco Half Marathon in July, then do a marathon this fall. I’m thinking about Portland. If I could qualify automatically for New York [1:23 in the half meets the ING New York Marathon auto qualifying standard] and then maybe for Boston, that would be pretty cool to do both of those!

Last modified on October 10, 2010
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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