On Running: How to Run 3,000+ Miles a Year Like David Kilgore

Ever heard of On running shoes?

It wasn’t that long ago New York-based runner David Kilgore didn’t know much about the brand, On’s Cloud technology to improve running performance, or it’s rapidly-growing cult-following of runners.

In fact, after more than a decade of training every day and chasing track and cross country records in high school and college, he took a break from the daily grind.

He even thought he might be done with running.

But then he met Molly, and a friend sent him a couple pairs of On running shoes to try out.

And you know what happened?

He clocked a 2:29 finish at the New York City Marathon a couple months ago, and he’ll run past 3,000 miles in 2021…wearing On running shoes.

  • What if On running shoes could help you chase big running goals? 

David can tell you a few things about that...

David Kilgore is a sponsored athlete and Global Head of Sports Innovation for On.

Run like Dad...

When you were a kid, did you want to be like your Dad?

David Kilgore did.

"I'd see him go for a run or workout, and it looked like fun," says David.

And so he began running too.

And it didn't take long for David (and his parents) to realize he was highly competitive, willing to work hard, and wanted to run... fast.

"I'm a hyper-competitive person in general," says David. "My running career really took off with help from my high school running coach. I learned a lot, collected a lot of accolades, and ran in college for three different schools."

He dominated sprint-distance track races. And he ran hard in every 5K and 10K cross country race, racking up wins and finishing in the top spots.

He worked hard at running, training, and living a lifestyle that revolved around running...FAST. As in 4- and 5-minute mile splits.

And then it was over.

"After getting out of college, I kind of thought I might be done with running," says David. "Up to that point, I had dedicated so much of my life to running, I decided to take a break."

"I even thought I might not ever get back into running. So I just stopped. It didn't seem to have the same spark for me as it used to. So I took a step back and cruised around for a while."

After taking a long break from running, David met Molly Metivier. And she invited him to go for a run.

Return to running powered by 'Molly'

After college, David spent almost eight months living a nomadic lifestyle.

He wandered from Utah to Arizona, couch surfing and living in his car. He worked a mix of odd jobs, including some retail work in shoes and sporting goods where he first learned about On running shoes.

  • Sometimes he'd go for a run or log some trail miles. 
  • Sometimes he didn't. 
  • Sometimes he felt like something was missing in his life, but he wasn't sure it was running.

And then he met Molly Metivier after landing a photography assignment that took him to the northeast part of the U.S. But their first meeting wasn't exactly picture perfect...he was shirtless and living in his car.

Even though Molly worked for a major running shoe company in sports marketing, David was more than modest about his running experience when they first met.

And then something happened...

Molly: "So I know you go for runs every now and then. Would you like to run the Brooklyn Mile?"

David: "I guess so."

Molly: "How fast do you think you can run a mile?"

David: "Under five minutes. Probably a 4:30 or 4:35 mile."

Molly: "I don't think you understand (laughing). I don't think you can do that. I barely even see you run."

And that's when David started thinking about returning to running. He filled Molly in on the details, and laced up his running shoes.

Then he cruised to the finish of the Brooklyn Mile in under five minutes. 

"I had lost my passion for running," says David. "But Molly helped me find it again. She threw me into this one-mile race after a long hiatus, and I've never looked back."

Sponsored by On, David Kilgore ran the Leadville 100-Mile Ultramarathon earlier this year, finishing in 19:51.

Let the On running adventure begin

The phone rings.

"Hi David, it's Chris." They're old running friends that go back more than a decade.

"Do want to try some On running shoes? I'll send you a couple pair."

Until then, David didn't know a lot about On running shoes, On's Cloud technology, and the brand's rapidly growing cult following.

But after making his return to running, he was happy to log some miles in On running shoes.

A few days later the On Cloudventure Peak and a few other On running shoes arrived in the mail.

That's how it started...

After returning to running, David decided to focus on running marathons, trail running, and step into ultrarunning.

"I ran my first 50K, and thought it was a tiny bit painful the last few miles," says David. "It was a lot different than running in high school or college. But I felt pretty good about it."

So why not try something harder?

"After I ran a 50K, I tried to jump into ultrarunning and signed up for the Rocky Racoon 100 in Texas," says David. 

"I ended up blowing up about halfway through, and I was in a ton of pain. I dropped out at about 50 miles. And later I told my running friends, ultrarunning is completely different from what I'm used to."

Failure forced him to take a closer look at nutrition, hydration, training, and race strategy to be able to go the distance.

More races, finishes, training, and wins followed. And David landed the job as the Global Head of Sports Innovation for On, and became a sponsored athlete.

After running track and cross country in high school and college, David Kilgore took a break from running. Now he's an On-sponsored athlete who prefers trail running and ultras.

David's answers to On running-shoe questions

Q: What do you like about working for On?

A: Honestly, it's been such an awesome journey. It's cool to see how much the company has grown, and how much the On community has grown.

Q: What is On Cloud technology?

A: It's the technology that makes On running shoes unique. And there's three main components that make it different than other running shoes:

  1. The speedboard. The bottom of the shoe is designed with a speedboard that improves your transition when you land, gives you a sharper pop when you push off, and improves energy efficiency. 
  2. Movement. The Cloud technology allows the shoe to compress horizontally and vertically, to help you move more naturally
  3. Landing & takeoff. It compresses down, giving you a softer landing, flattens out, and gives you a more explosive take off.

The On Cloud technology makes the shoes super light. It's innovative, improves running efficiency, and it looks pretty damn good, too.

Q: What is the most popular On running shoe?

A: It's the On Cloudflow. It's one of On's first true running shoes.

Q: What's the On company culture like?

A: It's really cool. We're always innovating, in the process of developing newer models, and collecting feedback from runners.

For example, one of the complaints we heard a lot in the beginning was rocks getting stuck in the openings on the bottom of the shoes. We've fixed that on all of our newer models.

We like getting feedback from runners and interacting with all of our retail partners. And we take that info back to our labs to make even better shoes.

What's next?

Check out David Kilgore on Strava, and you'll see he's already set to finish the year running 3,000-plus miles. 

Next year, he'll be running more ultras, travelling to some international races, and telling more runners about On.

David Kilgore's favorite On running shoe is the On Cloudstratus.

Fun facts about David Kilgore





Fastest marathon time

2:27 New York City Marathon in 2019

Longest Run

The Speed Project. 340 miles from Los Angeles, Calif., to Las Vegas, Nev.

Average mile pace

6:30 mile pace

Bucket list race

Western States 100
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

Marathon advice

I think it's within everybody to complete that distance. It's a huge challenge. But running a marathon is the easy part. The hard part is all the training you do to get to the finish line.

Favorite long-run fuel

Maurten gels and Snickers bars.

Favorite On running shoe

On Cloudstratus. It's a road shoe. But I run most of my miles in this shoe. It holds up well on trails. I've taken it on some pretty treacherous trail runs, and it's great.

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Evan Jensen
SANDY, Oregon
2 Following

I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM...


David Moore Thanks for sharing David! I'm happy you've returned to running and found a home with a great brand like On. I've ran through two pair of the On Cloud Waterproof and loved them!! They've worked as a great hybrid road/trail shoe. The Cloudstratus is on my short list.

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