Kieran Donnelly

Kieran Donnelly


Cape Town, Western Cape


Mountain biker & Dual-Surface Runner


I'm a recovering downhill mountain biker and an average runner, doing my best to spread the good word about running and riding through engaging internet videos.

I've been mountain biking since I was 10 and did downhill until 18, then took a 10-year hiatus only to pick up a bike again at 28.

In 2017 I picked up some road runners and I've been hooked since, going from perhaps one run a fortnight then to about five runs a week now, a 10x increase in volume in six years.

I'm competitive, I want to excel, and I derive most of my sanity from my training, so I endeavour to do it for as long as I can.


Steve Boyes - First Ascent


What are some of your most memorable achievements?

  • Gun Run 10km PB in 2022
  • 5th place in the 2-day Klipspringer Lite trail in Augrabies in 2021
  • Having a 2cm twig removed from my shin during a downhill MTB race in 2006.

What are the ambitions that you are working towards?

  1. The longest possible healthspan (the portion of your lifespan that you're healthy for). That means keeping strength and VO2 max as high as possible and avoiding injuries that steal years from future training.
  2. Nearer-term, on foot, I'm aiming for a first road marathon, a sub-90 road half, and a couple of ultra trails. On the bike, I'd like to regain the downhill MTB confidence from when I was 13 without breaking any bones in the process.

What are some of your top tips?

  • Run your own race. It's easy to compare yourself to other competitors, friends, or Strava athletes. Don't – just try to be better than you were last week.
  • Listen to your body. Don't risk injury by ramping up volume too fast, and don't train when you're sick.

What is your favourite First Ascent product and why?

Run: Kinetic lightweight running jacket – has pockets, looks sick, surprisingly warm, packs small.

Ride: Gravel MTB shoe – tightening wheel is a game changer, and stiff while still being wearable off the bike.