Kate Harrison – Interview

December 9, 2012 1

© Copyright – 2012 – Athletics Illustrated

Twenty-three year old Kate Harrison of Toronto, Ontario, graduated from NCAA Division 1 West Virginia University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Exercise Physiology. She competed as a U of WV Mountaineer for three years after having red-shirted the 2008 indoor and outdoor seasons. Harrison was named first team All-American after placing second at the 2011 NCAA Championships. She finished first at the NCAA East Regional in the 10000m earning a personal-best time of 33:48.64.

In Vancouver, BC on November 24th Harrison raced to a surprise second place finish in the Canadian Cross Country Championships behind race favourite Megan Brown. Her placing was a surprise as she suffered with a bout of anemia during the spring and summer of 2012 and entered the nationals without expectations. She continues to live and train in West Virginia under coach Sean Cleary.

Personal Bests: 

10000m – 33:38.64

5000m – 16:24.40

3000m – 9:40.28

1500m – 4:27.49

CK: I know we talked about how you discovered that you were getting faster as a teen and that helped form your decision to move towards serious running. Was that around an Ontario Provincial Championships (OFSAA)?

KH: I played hockey through grade nine and ran just for fun and to stay in shape that first year. I really wanted to play for Team Canada. I think it’s the same story with a lot of Canadian runners. You grow up in the hype of NHL and Olympic Hockey, but when your teammates all sprout up a foot taller than you, you realize it just wasn’t meant to be. But I ended up finishing 5th and 6th at OFSAA and realized I had a lot more potential in running.

CK: Now you want to explore road running a little more, what does cross-country mean to you in your overall or annual training plan?

KH: Cross-country is something you do every year throughout your high school and college career. I’ve grown to love the variety and the new challenges cross-country brings. It gets boring running in circles all the time! I also like the idea of a season where everyone competes in one race, and the best from all distance specialties go head to head. I will definitely continue to include cross-country in my racing schedule in years to come.

CK: So your career choice at this time looks like physiology. Would you return to Toronto to practice if that is your choice or stay in West Virginia?

KH: Yes, I am definitely a nerd when it comes to science and running. I love studying and learning about the physiology behind human performance and how we can push our limits. In order to train with my current coach, I plan on staying in West Virginia for my running career, after that I’m not sure where I’ll end up. Wherever opportunities present themselves.

CK: You are running the Houston Chevron Half Marathon?

KH: This is a race my coach and I discussed before the fall season started. I am excited about the possibility of moving to the marathon distance and I think it would be a great experience to get a taste of the road-running scene. I’ll have to sit down with Sean again and re-evaluate though, as I am just coming off a rough fall where I didn’t get in the training I would have hoped leading into a big race like that. I also would like to run on the Canadian cross-country team in Jamaica (NACAC) and Poland (Worlds), and there is only so much you can fit into one winter!

CK: Do you have any specific goal times for Houston, if you do it?

KH: Whether in Houston or at a later road race, I would definitely be there to put down a good result. However, since I am new to road racing and the longer distances, it’s hard to give an exact time. I think I would definitely want to be under the 1:15 mark though.

CK: Why the interest in the longer distances?

KH: I perform better at longer distances. I guess I am more aerobically talented than anaerobic and I really enjoy the longer distance training. Coach Cleary is a distance-based coach, which works well for me. I like that he treats each athlete as an individual, so there is no set plan for everyone.

CK: During 2013 outdoor season, will you be competing in the 5000m and 10000m?

KH:Yes. I have goals of moving up at some point, but my personal b

ests on the track are pretty soft, and we feel like I need to get those down before I can expect to compete at the highest level in the marathon.

CK: If you are, are the 2013 IAAF World Track and Field Championships on your radar?

KH: They sure are. Realizing that my current 10k time is a minute and a half slower than even the B standard, it definitely seems like a long shot, but I think I have a ton of room to improve there so I’ll see what I can do. As a post-collegiate athlete now I feel like if you’re not aiming for those major championships than what’s the point?

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