Husband and wife duo Stephen and Claire Kelley teach classes at Real Fitness Sarasota.
The couple that trains together stays together.
At least that's the case for Stephen Kelley, 33, and his wife, Claire, 31. The fitness instructors are one other’s best training partners. They do most, if not all, of their training and teaching together.
The pair teaches a total of 13 classes a week Monday through Thursday at Real Fitness Sarasota. From teaching TRX to participating in hot yoga classes to running a total of 80 miles a week to keep pace for their upcoming ultra-marathons and obstacle course races.
Stephen worked at the YMCA from 2009 until 2015 in various levels as a fitness coordinator and also instructing classes. Stephen’s previous fitness background included weightlifting but not running. He met Claire in one of his classes and learned that she was an endurance runner. She agreed to help him learn to run properly.
“Right out the gate she was having me run 10 miles, and I was dying,” Stephen said. "That’s how we started our relationship and it gave me new perspective on what fitness is.”
Claire has been running consistently for 14 years. It became her passion after a childhood with minimum activity due to multiple surgeries to correct a clubbed foot. Because of the surgeries, Claire was advised to avoid sports, but she wanted to be more active.
“When I went to college I started running because my parents weren’t around to tell me I couldn’t, and I was good at it,” Claire said. “Whether I run or not I’m wearing the bones down in the ankle and foot. I figure if I can, lets do it know while I can.”
Her drive to train and compete comes from knowing that her condition is degenerative, and she may not be able to use her left leg for much longer.
“I figure if I can, lets do it know while I can,” Claire said. “It doesn’t matter if I do it or not I’m going to lose the leg most likely. That’s why I do what I’m doing.”
Now Claire competes in ultra-marathons, which are races with more than 26.2 miles. In January, she participated in an ultra-marathon of 31 miles that began with jumping out of a plane. Together, Stephen and Claire do at least three obstacle course races a year. They want to get as many challenges and goals accomplished while they can together.
“It’s kind of like being on a clock,” Stephen said. “You know at some point this is going to happen.”
Together, they’ve already started getting their twin 3-year-old sons, Kingston and Langston, in on the fun. Together, the boys finished their first one-mile race, the Mickey Mile at Walt Disney World.
“A time of 19 minutes for a mile for a 3-year-old is pretty good,” Stephen said. “They’re going to run it again in April.”