Elite Athlete Spotlight – Kevin Donoghue

Kevin Donoghue and Laura Messner on the podium at Spartan Race Amesbury sharing a special moment
Kevin Donoghue and Laura Messner on the podium at Spartan Race Amesbury sharing a special moment 

Kevin Donoghue is an elite obstacle course racer with multiple podium finishes through the year.  He is also a fitness & performance coach while living in Monroe, New York.  In 2012 Kevin finished in 17th in the Spartan Race points series.  This year he is looking to exceed those rankings from 2012.

Kevin is sponsored by Elite Performance Team, Recovery Pump, Rock Tape, Infinit Nutrition, Woolsports, and Jump Start Therapy.


You have raced in multiple ultras and road races over your athletic career. If any, how did those races help you get into obstacle course racing?

Road Races were my first introduction into competitive running. I was a sprinter in HS (relying solely on power & explosiveness) so the experience of 5k & 10k events gave me invaluable experience.  Both in strategy and knowing what paces my body can handle at different distances.

Ultra running required me to get out into the mountains and run trails. It was such a fun and refreshing way to train and took me to all these interesting parts of the world.

The experience of running differential terrain helped build up supportive muscles, confidence & technical abilities that have proved very valuable on OCR courses.


You are the founder of fitnamics. You have offered OCR boot camps and training sessions for multiple clients. As a professional in this area, can you recommend what someone getting into the sport should consider? Any special gear?

They should consider that after one race they are going to be addicted to it!  And that is not a joke!

But leading up into your first race there are two factors to consider. What shape you are already in & how

Kevin and Caesar at Spartan Race PA
Kevin and Caesar at Spartan Race PA

competitive you are or aren’t. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF!

Once you have assessed these, picking the race that is right for you is the next step. If you are not in the best shape and just looking for a more challenging way to enjoy a free beer with your friends then pick a race thats appropriate.

If your in great shape and want to race the best, many races have a competitive heats with chip timing and awards for top finishers. Some of which keep season rankings if you wish to keep score all year.

Check out www.mudandadventure.com which is a great site that can help you find the race that’s best for you. Once you pick the race, join Spartan Race’s Workout Of the Day.  They are free and easily modified to most peoples needs.

Train hard! The more prepared you are the more fun you will have and safer you will be.


You have assisted multiple people accomplishing their goals. In the 2013 Tri-state sprint in Tuxedo, New York you completed the race with one of your clients who has autism. Last year, you completed a marathon with Winter Vinecki

Douglas completing Spartan Race Tuxedo with Kevin
Douglas completing Spartan Race Tuxedo with Kevin

who founded team winter in Oregon. This year Winter completed the very difficult Spartan Beast in Utah. With these successes what are you trying to inspire in others?

Running those races with Douglas and Winter were very different but equally rewarding. Each of them leaned on me for different reasons, but the joy of being there for them filled me up with an equal amount of happiness.

I really don’t go out trying to inspire others. But when really good people come up to me and tell me that I did, I can’t express how flattering and humbling that is. Fact is people like Douglas and Winter, they inspire me!

I can only hope that they gained as much from their experiences with me as I did with them. But if I am inspiring someone, I hope I can set an example of working hard, racing hard, racing fair, racing humble, showing good sportsmanship, and keeping it fun!


Based somewhat on the prior question. You have a quote you have often used, “I live vicariously through myself”. Your athletes, clients and friends see this in not only your actions, but your humble and caring attitude. How do you manage the lifestyle?

Yeah that quote is all about trying to look at your life from the outside peeking in,and if you can say its awesome, then goal achieved!

But more importantly I have another quote that helps me manage everything that comes at me. “Your success is not determined by your accomplishments. Your success is determined by how your accomplishments serve others.”

It’s amazing to get on the podium, score points, hit top tens, and earn sponsorships. But if your not using those gifts as an opportunity to be good to others then it would feel pretty hollow.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a platform give back to some amazing people and causes over the years and pumped for what the future holds!


Spartan Race is finishing strong with two critical races in September (Tri-State Super and Vermont Championship). For the seasoned athlete and for those in the tri-state area possibly completing a trifecta, do you have a suggestions for training and recovery between each event?

RUN YOUR HILLS! I’ve talked to a lot of people who try to substitute the necessity of solid hill work with Cross Fit, treadmills, stair climbers and walking lunges around the track. Not that it doesn’t help but they all come in a distant second to outdoor climbing.

The Tri-State Super Spartan and especially the VT Beast will have long and arduous climbs which will reward those who trained on hills, and hammer those who haven’t.

In between these two races you will first need to manage muscle sourness and joint inflammation.

Immediately after race you should have a recovery meal or shake. Nothing beats a bottle of chocolate milk within 30 min after you receive your finishers medal.

When you get home hop in an ice bath for 20 to 30 min to bring down the swelling in those ankles, knees and hips. The following morning take a brisk walk or a light run to push the raining lactic acid out I those legs and increase circulation to speed up the healing.  For more recovery help visit the Elite Performance Team website.

Once you have kicked a majority of the soreness, get back into those hills!


In 2012 you finished in the top 20. You are in strong contention to a stronger finish in the 2013 Spartan Race point series. How are these results matching with your set goals?

I was proud of what I put together in the  2012 season. I had a foot injury buckle me up all season but I raced as tough as I could. It was a real blessing to finish in the top 20 considering it was all about who could do the best in 4 beasts (which were the only points that mattered), and my foot felt like it was being blow torched every 2 miles.

This year the competition is considerably tougher. There are a lot more talented athletes racing. Everyone is more experienced, in better shape, supported better, and the points system is much more comprehensive. It requires everyone to perform well in Sprints, Supers, & Beasts. Some athletes who made the top 10 last year are fighting hard to crack the top 30 this season.

My goal coming in was to make the top 20 again. I got off to a great start and was blessed with better health so I changed that goal to be as close to or in the top 10. So far I have exceeded my expectations but that being said, still working my butt off to climb as high as possible!


What has been your most accomplished moment in OCR?

Kevin and David Magida
Kevin and David Magida at finish line of Spartan Race Tuxedo

I have so many moments that come mind. My first Spartan Race podium, where my good buddy David Magida embraced me at the finish line, fulfilled a major goal.  My 2nd place finish in Amesbury was only 39 seconds behind the great Jung Yung Pak (who beat me by almost 5 min the year before) was a big accomplishment as well.

But my greatest moment so far has to be completing the Tuxedo Spartan Race with Douglas.  It was so gratifying to watch him overcome so many figurative and literal obstacles that day. It was one of those rare moments in life where both your professional & personal lives are bonded together in perfect harmony.  To see the joy and pride on his parents faces, and the confidence he has gained since has to be número uno.  


Kevin Donoghue on Facebook

Kevin Donoghue on Twitter

Kevin Donoghue on Instagram

You can see more of the story with Kevin and Douglas on the Spartan Race recap video here

Spartan Race – Film the Athlete – Kevin Donoghue

Soon to be available on the THUZIO page!


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