Running since she was in the first grade, junior Kathleen Dunne is taking her vast experience and using it to lead the Long Beach State women’s cross-country team in 2015.
Dunne set a personal best time of 21 minutes and 30.3 seconds in the 6K at UC Riverside on Sept. 12. A week before, on Sept. 5, she finished eighth overall in the 5K in a field of 140 runners at the UC Irvine Invitational.
The Camarillo native spoke with the Daily 49er about her career as a runner.
Is running still fun or has it turned into a job?
While I’m running it’s not like I’m having fun. But, I feel like the results are really worth it. What you put into it, you obviously get out. I consider [running] my job, but I like waking up and getting my run in. It’s my job, but I like my job.
You were highly decorated in high school, but not as much in college. Was the transition difficult?
Oh, yeah. It’s just a whole other game. In high school it was easy to be successful, have a good time and be a standout. In college, all the best runners from high school are now here, so everyone once was a standout runner. It’s just so competitive and I really wasn’t expecting that when I came to college. As a freshman and sophomore I could just barely be competitive in my races. I was just very average.
How did you deal with the switch from a standout runner to an average runner?
It was hard because you think, ‘oh, in high school I worked so hard and that’s why I was so good.’ But, I look back and I didn’t even work hard in high school. I really didn’t, compared to what I’m doing now. You just have to increase the work you put in, that’s how you deal with [the switch].
Do you feel like you’ve finally adjusted this year?
Yes, it took a couple of years. My freshman year was a little rocky, even into my sophomore year. But, I think after two years of going through cross-country and track seasons, I have a routine now, and I’ve changed a lot since high school.
Now that you’re an upper classman, have you become a mentor to the new members?
Yes. [Head coach Tom Walsh] chose me to be team captain for the season. My biggest thing is you have to lead by example 100 percent of the time.
What’s been the highest point in your career as a runner?
You know, it’s weird to say, but I think when you set a personal record it’s your highest point because you’ve ran the fastest in your whole life. For me, for cross-country at least, the last meet we had at Riverside I [beat my personal record] by a minute and five seconds. I guess I’d have to say that’s the highest point in my career because I “PR-ed” and that’s the fastest I’ve ever ran in my life.
What about your lowest point?
Probably coming to college and being thrown in a Division I race for the first time in cross-country season and literally coming in close to last. Just that change, I would say, from high school to college is really hard.