A huge Oiselle welcome to our newest Haute Volée, Kendra Chambers! Kendra, an 800m specialist, grew up in El Paso, has most recently been training in San Antonio, and is relocating to Philadelphia to a new training group this fall. We love that Kendra has big dreams and a big heart. Get to know Kendra, and get ready to cheer for her on and off the track!
Photo: Lex Ray Visuals
JESS: YOU’RE SUPER CLOSE TO YOUR MOM! IS SHE YOUR #1 SUPPORT SYSTEM? YOUR PARTNER IN CRUSHING IT?
KENDRA: She’s my mom and best friend! Which doesn’t happen often. I pretty much talk to her every day. She knows everything that’s going on in my life. She’s so supportive, like most parents are. But my mom never draws the line. She so supportive in helping me turn my professional running career dream into a reality. She’s at all the big events, she’s pretty much been to every USA Championship. It’s just really nice having someone like that in your corner.
JB: WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?
KC: I would definitely say Sanya Richards-Ross. I went to University of Texas and it’s just crazy the amount of ways that she has impacted my life! She was actually one of my supporters for the “Miss Black UT Pageant” (which I won!) in 2013. She and Trey Hardee helped me create a community program for kids and that was something that I presented to the judges. She’s been really supportive of my track career, but also anything I do outside of athletics. On top of that, she was the commencement speaker at my graduation! She’s amazing on and off the track.
JB: SPEAKING OF YOUTH PROGRAMS, YOU ARE CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN A PROGRAM CALLED “ATHLETES FOR HOPE". CAN YOU TELL US WHAT KIND OF WORK YOU’RE DOING?
KC: Sure! I started in 2015. Athletes For Hope is a an organization that connects professional athletes to schools and programs in your area. They do all the work behind the scenes with setting up what schools or programs you will visit on what day and time. Which is so helpful! Without them, I'm not sure I would be able to be as active in the community as I am. I’ve gone to a lot of schools… I’ve lost count! It’s been really humbling. The program is focused on sports so our main message is that no matter what sport you do, it’s important to get out and do something active for at least 30 minutes a day. I talk to them a lot about how sports has taught me discipline, how to be goal oriented, etc. I really love working with the youth, it’s something I am really passionate about and I hope I can continue to stay involved when I make my move to Philadelphia!
JB: YOU’RE MOVING TO PHILLY! NEW CITY. NEW TRAINING GROUP… HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT IT!?
KC: Yeah! Well, Ajee and Charlene are both close friends of mine off the track, so…. it’s going to be A LOT of fun. I am a little nervous because originally I am from Phoenix and have lived in Texas my entire life, so cold to me is like… 40 degrees. I have a feeling I am going to suffer for the first few months, but I'll get through it! Overall, just excited to join a group of high caliber athletes. The next few years are really important, so this was a big decision for me to make as a professional. I want to surround myself with the best. It’s okay if you’re not there yet. But if you put yourself in the right position, you never know what could happen.
JB: I am so pumped for you. There is literally nothing better than surrounding yourself with badass women who share the same goals. That is a recipe for magic.
KC: Yeah! And I feel like some people might shy away from an opportunity like that… but I don’t mind going to a group full of amazing athletes, it's only going to make me better. I am willing to put in the hard work, put myself out there and take risks. That’s what life is all about.
Photo: Lex Ray Visuals
JB: YOU WORKED AT ESPN FOR A YEAR! HOW WAS THAT?
KC: That was a huge transition time for me. That was between school and trying to figure out what my athletic pursuits were going to be. I worked at Longhorn Network – basically the extension of ESPN just for UT Athletics. I worked as a digital media assistant, so I did everything on the website and also had the opportunity to do live reporting and some editing. I did live reporting for football, volleyball, and track & field. That was really fun! When the track team was heading out to nationals, I was able to cover that story! Just a really great experience – it was definitely a dream job of mine.
JB: AND DANG WOMAN, YOU’RE ALSO CURRENTLY GETTING YOUR MASTERS!
KC: Ha! Yeah, I am getting my degree online so that school can be on the move with me. I started this last January, so I should finish sometime next spring. It’s a Masters of Education with a specialization in Sports Management. I really want to be an Athletic Director. I dealt with some situations in college where I felt like, as an athlete, there were things I wish I, or the administration, could have done differently. So, I think that’s where the passion stems from. Just making sure that student-athletes are really taken into consideration as people and not simply overlooked as numbers. I hope I will be able to make an impact on student athletes' lives when I get to that point.
Photo: Lex Ray Visuals
JB: YOU’VE RUN 2:00.76. BREAKING 2:00 IS A HUGE MILESTONE. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
KC: Yeah, it’s crazy because my first 800 was in 2012 and I feel like I am still learning how to run it. Every 800 is different and you learn as you go! You’re constantly trying to figure it out, which is why I think I am so in love with it. Like… I’m going get you. I’m going to figure you out! Still on the hunt for the perfect recipe. But yeah, running 2:00 was an amazing accomplishment. I think I am definitely ready to get under. But I so appreciate the milestone of running 2:00 and being a part of that two flat club.
JB: OKAY, I’VE GOT SOME QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS FOR YOU! READY? …. WHERE’S THE LAST PLACE YOU TRAVELED TO?
KC: Phoenix, Arizona
Photo: Lex Ray Visuals
JB: WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO ALBUM RIGHT NOW?
KC: Ooh, Jhené Aiko. She just came out with a new album called “Trip”! Very good album.
JB: WHAT IS YOUR MOST USED APP?
KC: Hmm, I would have to say Instagram.
JB: WHAT’S YOUR POWERSUIT? WHAT DO YOU WEAR THAT MAKES YOU FEEL THE MOST CONFIDENT, POWERFUL AND STONG?
KC: Running shorts and a sports bra. Just going out on a run. I feel powerful doing that.
JB: WHAT’S YOUR MOST USED EMOJI?
KC: The hug emoji! I’m a hugger. Not in real life… I don’t think… but emoji, yes.
JB: WHAT’S YOUR SELF-CARE/RECOVERY ESSENTIAL?
KC: Epsom salt bath! So relaxing.
JB: WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASSUE?
KC: Oh easy – anything and everything chocolate. Even if it has a drop, I’ll eat it!