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Despite a demanding career as a nurse and the rigors of family life, Kelley Bradbury still has time to train regularly.

After running competitively for more than 20 years, Newburyport’s Kelly Bradbury has a lot of reasons to quit.

But she won’t. Maybe ever.

Between her three sons, Bradbury has seen more little league, youth hockey, basketball and Pop Warner than perhaps any mother on the North Shore. She also works part-time as an emergency room nurse at Salem Hospital.

Bradbury’s husband, Steve, is the deputy chief of the Newburyport Fire Department. His schedule changes with the sound of an alarm.

Somehow she gets in 40-odd miles a week, between 6 or 7 each morning and a 10-mile day at least once. And she remains a fixture — a very good one — on the area road race circuit.

She ought to teach a course in time management.

“It’s my time to be competitive,” she admits. “Before a race, I’ll go on coolrunning.com and look at my result from last year. When I get out there, I still look around to see who is at the starting line.”

A Self-Critic

The passion for running that she had 20 years ago is still there. Ask her about her most recent results and she is quickly — maybe unfairly — self-critical.

Bradbury ran the Mount Washington Road Race on June 16 — a race she had no desire to run until three years ago — and finished 55th overall and 12th in the 40-44 age group in 1:44.49.

It didn’t matter that 222 women ran the race, 39 of which in her age group; Bradbury wasn’t happy with the result.

“My time was the same as last year (1:44.35),” she said. “I was disappointed.”

She was very happy with her time in the Run For the Roses 5K in Salisbury on May 16, in which she placed second in a field of 115 women in 21:07. Even better was her time in Trav’s Trail Run 5K at Maudslay State Park two weeks later, which saw her place 39th in a field of 249 — sixth in the women’s field — in 20:17.

“I was definitely happy with that one,” Bradbury said. “That was a better time for me.”

Last summer at the Yankee Homecoming 10-mile and 5K, when hundreds of runners switched from the former to the latter due to the brutal humidity, Bradbury stuck with the 10-mile, finishing 151st overall and fourth among 69 runners in the 35-39 age group in 1:17.26.

“It was absolutely one of the hottest races I’ve ever run,” she said. “I was hoping to break 70 minutes. But overall, with the heat I was five minutes slower, which wasn’t bad.”

Breaking 70 minutes is Bradbury’s goal for the YH 10-mile on July 31. If there were an over-under line in Las Vegas, take the under. She runs daily at 5:45 a.m. with Don Hennigar, the long-time coach at Newburyport High.

“Kelly’s biggest attribute is that she is so focused,” Hennigar said. “She is amazing at budgeting her time. She makes time to get her runs in when everyone else is still in bed. She is willing to make that sacrifice.”

Hennigar also raved about Bradbury’s technique. “Kelly is very strong, and that is also a big attribute. Her speed is batter than average. She is able to hold a pace for a very long period of time.

Location is Everything

A gymnast in high school, Bradbury took to running her freshman year at Northeastern University in the fall of 1985. She had a friend on the track and field team who invited her on some runs, and soon she was hooked.

“It was great to be able to run around the Charles (River),” she said. “It is such a nice area to run.”

Since, Bradbury has missed the YH 10-mile once, due to the birth of her second son, Trevor, 10. She has also run the Boston Marathon four times and the Bay State Marathon once, along with countless other road races through the years.

She will be the first to say that her results are not what they were 20 years ago, understandably. But they’re not far off, even after giving birth to three sons.

Bradbury ran throughout her pregnancy with her oldest, Jared, 13, but rested the nine months with Trevor and ran the first half of her pregnancy with her youngest, Owen, 7.

“I found that if you’re in shape throughout a pregnancy, it makes it easier to come back,” she explained. “Just as long as you start off slowly and not have too high goals too soon. Between six to eight months I bounce back to my usual times.”

Bradbury is grooming Jared, who has run the last two Yankee Homecoming 5Ks — he finished 173rd in 25:20 last year — and the last two High Street Miles. Trevor ran his first High Street Mile last year.

With the heavy schedule of her kids’ practices and games, Bradbury’s philosophy on remaining faithful to her workouts is simple.

“I just wake up a little earlier,” she said. “One thing I’ve learned is that you get smarter about running as you get older. Overall, I think my results are a little slower, but not by a huge amount.”

Because she turned 40 on April 4, Bradbury is now considered a master, in running terms. She is anxious to see how she’ll do in her new age group.

Bradbury has a full slate of races for the remainder of the summer and the fall, including the YH 10K and High Street Mile, as well as the renowned Falmouth Road Race in September.

She won’t be difficult to spot. She’ll be the one eyeing the competition at the starting line.

Notes from Mount Washington

When you think of the top road racers in the area, names such as Ryan Spinney, Derek Dorval, Chris Kealey and Bret Rickenbach immediately come to mind.

But one of the great things about the Mount Washington Road Race, held on June 16, is that it humbles even the most seasoned road racers and puts everyone in an even playing field.

Rickenbach, 32, of Salisbury, topped the local field at Mount Washington (he placed 46th overall), reaching the summit in 1:19.17, but not too far back in 64th place was 55-year-old Don Hennigar, second among locals in 1:23.13.

“Speed means absolutely nothing up there,” said Hennigar. “You can’t run fast up the mountain. It allows for a little more equal footing. Someone in their 50s has a shot against someone in their 30s.

“It’s one of the only races where, as you get older, you have a chance of running a better time the next year,” Hennigar added.

The Winner’s Circle Running Club sent 38 runners to Mount Washington this year.

“One of the reasons I like it is because I can beat guys like Chris Kealey and Derek Dorval,” quipped Ken Tripp of Amesbury, who sat out this year’s race, but finished 40th last year in a swift 1:16.25. “The mountain equalizes everything.”

Dorval (1:23.48) and Amesbury’s Gary Passler (1:28.08) each ran stellar races this year, placing 69th and 96th overall, respectively, while Kealey finished in 117th in 1:31.25.

Kelly Bradbury (Newburyport) placed 55th to lead the local women’s contingent with a time of 1:44.49 while Kathleen Bradshaw-Long (West Newbury) placed 74th in 1:50.04.

Short Works in Danvers Kiwanis 5-Mile

Tim Short, 26, of Amesbury placed second overall in the Danvers Kiwanis 5-Mile Road Race in 29:02 Friday. Short trailed Haverhill’s Dan Verrington, who posted a comfortable 27:19. ...Amesbury was well represented in the race behind Carley Morrell, who placed eighth among women entries in 36:51. ...Richard Brown (Salisbury), 52, placed 21st overall at the Nostrodamus Mystical Predict Your Time 5K in Lowell on June 26 with a time of 21:31.5, a personal-best result. Also impressing was Chris Janson (Newburyport), who took 28th in 22:23.5, and Myles Wilson (Newburyport), who placed 46th in 24:17.4. The race drew a field of 104.

Strout Tops Locals in Plaistow Old Home Day 5K

Salisbury’s Bob Strout, 51, placed 20th overall in 19:53 at the 27th Annual Old Home Day 5K in Plaistow Saturday. Other locals included Jay Singleton (Georgetown), who placed 24th in 20:30; William Clarke (Georgetown), 55, who placed 51st in 23:22; and Kevin Shute (Amesbury), 24, who took 69th in 24:21.

Best of the Rest

Mike Ruccio (Amesbury), 34, placed 42nd overall and seventh in the 30-39 age group at the St. Peter’s 5K in Gloucester Thursday. Brendan Dewolf (Merrimac), 16, took 57th in 21:35 while Alan Thornton (Amesbury) placed 137th in 24:55. The race drew 355 runners. ...Larry Hanson (Georgetown) placed 249th (out of 888) in 34:29 in the Reggae Ramble and Caribbean Music Festival 5K in Cambridge Thursday.



Road Race Alert

What: 29th Annual Pat Polletta Road Race

When: Tonight, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Starts at Winner’s Circle Sports Bar, Elm Street, Salisbury

Race day entree fee: $20 per person (until 6 p.m.)

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