Interview: Kim Conley

Kim Conley’s hard work ethic and love for the sport has got her to where she is today.

She entered the 5000m US Olympic Trials without the A-Standard meaning that if she were to run the race and win without gaining the time she still would not qualify for London 2012!

Fortunately for Kim she blazed through the last 400m of what had been a slow qualifying race and dipped on the line to grab the A-Standard by 21/100ths of a second, finishing third and getting her ticket to London!

Conley returned from London after setting a personal best on the Olympic stage to continue her role as Assistant Coach at the University of California, Davis where she was also a student athlete competing on track (1500m and 5000m) and in Cross Country.

When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?

I started running in 6th grade. I played a different sport each season, and up until then softball had been my spring sport. I was getting pretty bored with it because I didn’t get to run around enough, and then I learned of a local track club; the Santa Rosa Express. I quit softball and started running track. Over the next few years I gradually quit the other sports to make more time for track until it was my only focus.

If you could run with and/or race anyone, anywhere who would it be and where? Over what distance and on which surface?

I would want to do a long tempo or progressive long run with Deena Kastor, at sea level. We could race a little at the end, but mostly it would just be fun to be pushed in a hard workout by one of the best!

Running wise, who do you look up to and who has inspired you?

I’ve always looked up Desi Davila because we had similar high school PR’s and graduated college with the same 5k PR (16:17). I’ve followed her progression over the years, and although we took different paths to get to the Olympics, she certainly inspired me in my journey and made me believe that it could be done.

What are your favourite training conditions and are they the same as your favourite racing conditions?

My favorite training conditions are hard packed dirt, maybe gently rolling, but for the most part flat. I don’t want it to be too monotonous but I do like the terrain to be predictable enough that I can get into a good rhythm and clip off a solid pace. In terms of weather I like cool, dry, and sunny, both for training and racing.

What is your fondest memory of running and, conversely, your worst?

My fondest running memory is the moment after I realized I had achieved the A-standard at the Olympic Trials and earned a spot to London 2012!

My worst running memory is from my senior year of college. I DNF’d the 5000 at the NCAA West Region meet. I thought that by not qualifying for Nationals I wouldn’t get a look in from a post-collegiate running group and that if I couldn’t join one of the groups I had no hope of pursuing post-collegiate running. As it turned out, I’ve done just fine staying in Davis and working with Coach Drew Wartenburg, but in the moment I stepped off the track in 2009 I thought that my competitive running career was over for good.

Where do you see yourself in six years?

In 6 years I’d like to be doing exactly what I’m doing now – running professionally. Over the course of the next six years I’ll gradually move up in distance, so my career may be more focused on the marathon by then, but I’d like to think that I still have upside on the track and hopefully I will be running faster then than I am now!

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