Kelly is former professional athlete who achieved tremendous success internationally as a 400m runner, both individually and in the 4x400m relay squad, winning bronze at the Olympics, silver at the Commonwealth Games and gold at the European Championships.
Upon her retirement in 2018 she joined our School of Sports and Exercise Sciences as a senior lecturer in PE and continues to inspire our students with her extensive knowledge and experience - from her own time competing and balancing work as a full-time high school PE teacher.
Kelly’s ties with LJMU began back in the late noughties when during her undergraduate studies she became one of the first athletes to join the Sport Scholar programme. The programme supports budding athletes to pursue their dreams of competing professionally while still gaining their higher education qualifications.
Kelly was able to access expert strength and conditioning help from coaches at the university, alongside physiotherapy and nutritional advice. She was even helped financially so that she was able to undertake warm weather training to better condition her body for competing in hot climates.
“Being an elite athlete has opened so many doors to get involved in initiatives that are taking place and I can pass on this hands-on knowledge and understanding to the students that I teach and also offer opportunities for them to go out into the field.”
– Kelly Massey
After graduating she became a PE teaching assistant and upon completing her PGCE in PE, taught the subject in a number of schools in Manchester while still competing in athletics.
Kelly was a fully-funded athlete between 2015 and 2017 - but kept her hand in mentoring, coaching and PE-related initiatives during that time - competing and gaining accolades in the international athletics circuit.
Before retiring from her sport in 2018, she set up her own business mentoring athletes, coaching, delivering workshops and guest speaking. Not content to rest on her laurels, she became a UK Anti-Doping educator, a trustee with England Athletics and gained media experience interviewing athletes at competitions. She is also a member of the Active Pregnancy Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.
Alongside lecturing, Kelly is undertaking her PhD studies with the research focus of elite athlete identity transitions, in particular the transition from elite athlete to elite athlete mother, working closely with Dr Amy Whitehead. Kelly’s first paper was published in May 2022 in Science Direct, titled Pregnancy and motherhood in elite sport: The longitudinal experiences of two elite athletes.
Kelly also offers her expertise to comment on sporting competitions like the 2022 Commonwealth Games. She hosted a special edition of our 1823 Podcast, sitting down with fellow LJMU Sport Scholar alumni Jonny Mellor, and they shared anecdotes about their lives as athletes, from crying during physiotherapy sessions to encounters with Usain Bolt.