A Running Entrepreneur
Guest blog post by Cheryl Kellond, Founder/CEO at Bia. As a female distance runner and entrepreneur, we wanted to explore what gets this fabulous woman fired up about running.
1. What kick started your running career and when did it all begin?
I’ve always loved to swim and cycle, but hated running. Two out of three is a start though, so I picked up triathlon as a “re-set” between each of my 4 kids. I had a choice: become a runner or DNF. So I ran. I still remember my first mile as if it were yesterday.
Now I love running the most out of the three sports. It’s not my strongest but I am proving something to myself with every mile, plus there is no better way to spend time with girlfriends. My kids are getting into it so it’s become family time as well!
2. What gets you most fired up about women in fitness?
I need to confess: I totally choke up when I see a sea of ponytails – or pink swim caps - at the start line. The guys will be grunting and staring each other down and the women will be high fiving and smiling – equally as competitive, equally as ready to kill it, but getting as much joy from their friends achievements as their own. Girls just friggin’ rule!
The effect of endurance sports on women’s lives fires me up. Especially for those of us who discover our inner athlete later in life, it’s transformative. Achieving new athletic firsts, no matter how big or small, makes you more bad*ss in all aspects of your life. It’s so much bigger than sports.
I want to make more of that.
3. How has running influenced your career path?
Haha... It’s become my career! Two summers ago I started looking for a GPS training device for a triathlon. I was NOT going to strap my $600 smart phone to my arm to workout, so I ordered every GPS watch on the market. I returned every one. There was nothing that fit my wrist right and didn’t hurt to wear. And they all required a user’s manual to operate. I went to MIT, so I’m no dummy when it comes to technology, but seriously? Clearly we could do better. I wanted to make something women could love as much as their sport.
So I quit my job and grabbed my co-founder Sylvia and we started Bia. We built a killer team and bootstrapped ourselves onto the American Express most wanted list. 18 months later and we’ve launched the first GPS sports watch by women, for women, on Kickstarter the popular crowd-funding platform.
It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. With a safety alert and quick-connecting GPS, Bia turns the old school “shrink it and pink it” approach to women’s sporting goods upside-down.
4. What current goals are you working towards for the 2012 year?
Kickstarter is an all or nothing funding model, and if we don't hit our goal by July 13th, we won't be able to get Bia to market. Hitting this goal has become a 24x7 job! It has taken a toll on my summer race season. Sometimes something has to give though.
Luckily (or crazily?) I just committed to Ironman Lake Tahoe so my post-Kickstarter goal is to fall in love with the marathon. My mantra is pretty form + pretty smile = pretty fast. I’ll be doing a ton of TRX cross training and natural run training to help with the form and then smiling like crazy during my long runs to help me find my happy pace at that distance.
5. If you could go on a run with any one in the world, who would it be and why?
Kathleen Switzer, the first women to run the Boston Marathon. She didn’t ask permission OR forgiveness. She went where “they” said she couldn’t. That’s my style! She should have had a girlfriend with her that day. In all honesty if she and I had been friends, I might have been the instigator suggesting we run it, and when she took me up on it, I would have no choice but to do it with her.
Thank you Cheryl for sharing your story with us, photos are coming soon! If anyone’s interested in their newest creation, the Bia GPS sports watch, feel free to check it out here.