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Kate Current is a Canadian athlete who at this time specialises in competing over the middle distances.

Current is attending Western University in London, Ontario, where she is studying engineering.

Saturday, January 30, she competed at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium winning the 3000m event in the time of 9:32.52. The race happened early in the season and in the midst of the snowy winter and pandemic-influenced lockdown period in Southern Ontario. Current’s indoor personal best over the distance is 9:13 indoors.

The 24-year-old grew up in Cobourg, Ontario, which is east of Toronto and near the shores of Lake Ontario.

The interview

Christopher Kelsall: Congratulations on your win in the 3000m event at the University of Victoria.

Kate Current: Thanks so much! I’m very pleased to have been able to come out and compete, and to come away with a win is a nice bonus. 

CK: You ran a personal best (according to World Athletics) with your 9:32.52 performance. That is quite a drop from 9:47.93, were you expecting that much of an improvement?

KC: I’ve actually only run one other outdoor 3K since it’s not a very popular event for the outdoor season. I’ve run a few indoor 3K races and set a personal best of 9:13 during the indoor season two years ago. I was aiming for around 9:30 for this meet so I’m quite pleased to only be two seconds off the goal.

CK: Sub-9:00 is and isn’t a long ways from 9:13. What are your thoughts on going after that benchmark this season and what about the steeplechase?

KC: I would say sub-9:00 is on my list of “eventual” goals. Might be a bit ambitious for this season but hopefully in the future I’ll break that barrier! I don’t think steeple is in my future though. I don’t have enough coordination for that [laughing].

CK: Says the former gymnast. To take in a small meet, London is a long way from Victoria, what were you doing out west?

KC: Looking for an excuse to leave London. We were in lockdown for the month of January so we’ve been unable to race or even get on a track to train. I saw there was a meet in Victoria and decided why not get the season started (it also gave me an excuse to visit Victoria for the weekend). I liked the idea of opening the season with a 3K on an outdoor track — fewer laps makes it feel less daunting. 

CK: You grew up in Cobourg, Ontario, yes? Was the environment conducive for developing a young athlete?

Kate Current positioned in third behind #330 in 3000m race at UVic. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

KC: I had a great experience as an athlete growing up in Cobourg. I was a competitive gymnast for about 10 years and trained with a club about 30 – 45 minutes away. When I switched to running in high school, I was really fortunate to have an incredible high school cross-country and track coach, Dawn Watson. She fostered such a positive environment for athletes and challenged me to pursue running at a higher level. I started training with a sprint club, The Speed Academy, based in Pickering (about 50 minutes away) in Grade 10 where I worked on my speed. With the speed coaching from Tony Sharpe and endurance training with Ms. Watson, I had the perfect balance for middle-distance running. 

CK: Regarding gymnastics, do you think that the power developed in the lower legs was of benefit to your middle-distance training?

KC: Definitely! My coach, Guy, always credits my background in gymnastics for any speed I have. There was a lot of “explosiveness” in gymnastics which helped with not only speed development but also the speed endurance required in middle-distance running. I think it also helped me in the long-term with staying relatively injury-free. I developed a lot of the small stability muscles that don’t often get worked which I think contributed quite a lot to my health as a runner. 

CK: In Cobourg, you were right on Lake Ontario. Did you spend much time on the water? Which sports did you play as a kid?

KC: I spent quite a bit of time on the water growing up; we took our boat to Rice Lake a lot and would go skiing and tubing frequently in the summer. I didn’t really take to water sports though. I trained 16-plus hours a week as a gymnast until high school which didn’t leave much time for other sports.

CK: At what age did you find running to be your primary sport?

KC: I would say running became my primary sport when I was about 15. This is when I started training more seriously with Ms. Watson and The Speed Academy and when I started racing outside of the school circuit. 

CK: Now that you are at Western University in London, are both Cobourg and London, just far enough away from Toronto that you can enjoy the big city, but not have to live in it?

KC: I wouldn’t want to live in Toronto but it is close enough to enjoy a day trip from time to time. I don’t go too often because I find that there’s plenty to do in London, but it’s conveniently close for shopping or concerts and stuff like that.

CK: You are taking engineering. Which type of engineering? What are your career aspirations?

KC: I completed my undergrad in civil engineering with specialisation in structural engineering and now I’m in the process of getting a Masters in wind engineering. I hope to work as a structural engineer-in-training for a few years until I have the practical experience required to take my Professional Practice Exam and become a professional engineer. Eventually, I hope to get into a more disaster risk reduction and mitigation role to design more resilient infrastructure.

CK: Sasha Gollish has a Ph.D. in engineering and is a long-time elite athlete as I am sure you well know….

KC: It is always encouraging to see people pursuing graduate studies while also competing as elite athletes.

CK: Are you a lifestyle runner? Meaning do you see yourself running in 10, or 30 years from now for pleasure or even being competitive then?

KC: I would say I’m a lifestyle runner. I can’t see myself stopping running at any point soon. Even if I stop competing, I’ll continue to run for enjoyment. The running community is very tight-knit and something I want to be a part of for my whole life.

CK: Which runs speak to you in terms of enjoyment, do you like the long run, or specific workouts or the day to day supplementary jogging if you do that?

KC: I can find enjoyment in all aspects of training, particularly the challenge of hard track workouts. My favourite workouts are 1500m pace interval workouts because those are the workouts where you can really test your limits and see the most progress. 

CK: While running do you prefer no headphones or headphones? If the latter, are you a podcast listener or a music fan?

KC: If I’m running alone I will typically listen to music but I prefer to run with people and chat to pass the time. When I cross-train, I like to listen to Lindsey Hein’s “I’ll have another” podcast where she interviews professional runners.

CK: Who is on your playlist?

KC: I listen to Alt, Indie, and whatever Spotify’s recommended playlist of the week is.

CK: What are your goals for this spring and summer?

KC: I’m hoping to have a really solid indoor season with our first indoor meet starting next Sunday. I’m planning to run the 1500m and 3000m for the indoor season in preparation for a big outdoor season. This might be my last outdoor season (depending on where life takes me) so my goal is to PB in every event (800m, 1500m, maybe 3000m, and 5000m).