Going the Distance
Nov. 16, 2001
by Lanna Apisukh
On Mon., Nov. 19, University of Washington's cross country team will be competing at the NCAA Championships at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Roughly 250 of the nation's top distance runners will be in attendance, but perhaps none will be as tough as Washington's Kate Bradshaw.
Don't be fooled by her petite size and calm demeanor. The 20 year-old junior is known for her strength and tenacity, qualities that bode well for success in the long grind of cross-country running.
A native of Aurora, Ill., Bradshaw first began running when she was in the sixth grade, taking long runs with her father, David. The elder Bradshaw thought Kate was destined to be a hurdler, but noticed her potential talent in distance running when she volunteered for an 800-meter race at a young age.
When the Bradshaw family - which includes Kate, her brother Patrick, and parents Janet and David -relocated to Issaquah, Kate found continuity in running. She didn't stop running all through high school, leading the Indians to fifth-place finishes at the 1997 and 1998 Washington Class 3A Cross Country Championships.
Her athletic prowess, combined with her stellar 3.8 GPA, earned Bradshaw an invitation to walk on to the University of Washington cross-country squad in 1999. Eight months later, she had won just the second distance-running conference title in Husky history, in the 10,000 meters at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships.
"She is a great story, from being a recruited walk-on to a earning a scholarship with a conference championship," says fifth-year cross-country coach Greg Metcalf. "Now she is our team captain, and last year one of the fastest women in America at 10,000 meters on the track."
Bradshaw could barely believe how far she had come when she crossed the line first at the conference meet.
"It was surreal, and a big surprise," says the speech communications/psychology double-major, who hopes to become a teacher. "You get as much out of it [running] as you put into it and your hard work is paid off. It's kind of like teaching kids, you get as much out of them as you put into them. It's a rewarding career."
On average, the petite powerhouse runs 60 to 70 miles a week, and hits the weight room often. If hard work is paid off, Bradshaw will be rich.
"Kate Bradshaw is a fantastic young woman and she works as hard as any athlete I have ever coached," says Metcalf. "She gives everything she has on race day. She's a great leader and does everything in her power to get better."
Believe it or not, the Huskies' hardest worker does find time to relax between from the rigorous hours of training and studying.
"I'm just like any other normal student or student-athlete," Bradshaw modestly insists. "I like to lie around and watch T.V. or go out with my friends. I really like to talk a lot and make myself laugh even if no one else finds my stories that funny. I just really like to have fun and laugh as much as possible - it is the other side to staying healthy."
Staying healthy? Not a concern for Bradshaw. Her endless training and strict diet of lean chicken keep her motor primed for each race. She also prapares with a peculiar mix of music, ranging from the classic rock sounds of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, to 80's music, to her favorite - Dave Matthews Band.
If all goes well, Bradshaw will be warming up on a crisp Monday morning in South Carolina, music from Matthews' latest CD in her ears. On the outside, she'll look peaceful, even calm. That's when opponents should beware, because Kate Bradshaw is ready to run.