Leading up to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda earlier this year, Kelly was running an average of 100kms a week while completing the third year of her Bachelor of Applied Science / Masters of Physiotherapy Practice degree.
The 23 year old admits that balancing her sport and studies would have ‘been a struggle’ in 2017 without the support of the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program and the Housing Scholarship.
“I experienced a pretty big jump in study load as I progressed into the third year of my degree,” said Kelly.
“Being able to alter my University timetable to suit my training program and competitions was really beneficial. I think I would have struggled a lot academically without being in the housing at Barnes.”
“One student in my course actually said to me, ‘I feel like the student athletes are the ones that actually get stuff done’.”
“We lead such a busy and active lifestyle we tend not to let things pile up and utilise all our free time to study or complete assignments.”
The scholarship, provided by La Trobe Sport in conjunction with La Trobe Accommodation Services, was established to assist student athletes with extenuating circumstances such as travel or financial hardship to support them in managing their academic and sporting pursuits.
“I was travelling for over two hours to and from La Trobe to attend tutorials and lectures almost every day,” said the Bacchus Marsh resident. “I applied for the scholarship to be able to manage my time a lot more.”
“I’d highly recommend the scholarship to anyone that’s passionate about their sport and studies but is living an extra bit of distance away.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my on campus accommodation at La Trobe. I’m living with three other girls on Barnes and I get along really well with them all.”
It was this balance that helped Kelly become the first Australian across the line and place 31st overall among some of the best runners in the world in Uganda.
“Commonwealth Games, Olympics and Australian representation are all things that I, like most athletes, aspire to achieve.”
“Coming into this year I didn’t expect to be running against some of the best athletes in the world and representing my country so I’m looking forward to taking on whatever opportunities present themselves.”
The University Blue recipient will now focus her attention on a full recovery from injury and preparation for the 2018 World University Championships – Cross Country in Switzerland in May.
As a member of the Elite Athlete Program, Kelly also receives a variety of benefits including access to the La Trobe University Sports Centre to assist with her recovery and training.