Thursday, August 05, 2010

Team USA Minnesota Tenth Anniversary Interviews--Katie McGregor

Katie McGregor has been one of the most successful racers on Team USA Minnesota, winning several national championships, running as a member of the US team on the roads, and in both cross country track for the World Championships. She talks to DtB about those experiences.
Down the Backstretch: Ten years ago the Team USA concept was just an idea waiting to happen. What were your thoughts when it started? Why did you get involved? What did you hope to get from the experiment?

Katie McGregor: I still can’t believe it has been ten years!!! I had no idea what to expect, but I quickly realized that the Twin Cities running community is extremely supportive. Pat and Dennis are committed to making Team USA MN one of the premier distance running groups in the nation and creating some of the best distance runners in the world. I was one of the first runners on board because I believed in the system that was presented to me. And, over the years, I have seen a great group turn into an outstanding group thanks to Pat, Dennis and the local runners.

DtB: Did you have any idea then that ten years later you would still be involved? Was there a plan or commitment you had in mind when you first signed up?

KM: Time has flown by and I have no intention of giving up yet, I am glad that our board and sponsors haven’t given up either. Pat and Dennis have started a tradition of great post-collegiate distance running in Minnesota and I hope that it continues for many more decades.

DtB: What has been the highlight or highlights of those ten years?

KM: Minnesota is now a place I call home. I have made great friendships here and I have been inspired by Minnesota runners both on and off our team. Most of my highlights have been sharing World Championship experiences with Dennis and my teammates.

DtB: What have been the greatest challenges?

KM: Some of the greatest challenges for any group are to continue to recruit talented athletes and to maintain funding. Pat is a tremendous fundraiser and Dennis is now regarded as one of the best coaches in the country. He was always an incredible coach, but now everyone knows about him and the team in Minnesota.

DtB: What were the primary objectives you hoped to achieve?

KM: My goal has always been to make an Olympic team. I have accomplished many things that I am proud of (won multiple national championships and represented the United States in many World Championships competitions) but my ultimate goal is and always has been to become an Olympian. It is very hard to be recognized outside our sport without that title. I have achieved every other title that I wanted except that one and I hope to claim it in 2012.

DtB: What would you still like to accomplish, see happen with the program?

KM: As a part of the original team, I hope that I helped establish a small part of the legacy that I know our group will leave in running history. I hope that Pat continues her commitment to the team as long as possible.

DtB: What has surprised you or was unexpected about the project?

KM: The support of the running community and the amazing people I have met along the way. Other runners don't understand why we would want to train in a cold place like Minnesota, but they don't see the crowded lakes over the winter weekends. Minnesota is a great place to train, anytime of year. (I will remind myself of that in a few months.) Although, if we didn't have the support of Life Time Fitness or the University of Minnesota, it would be hard to get in all our workouts.

DtB: What are your plans for the future?

KM: I hope to represent my country and Team USA Minnesota in London 2012!

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