Kathryn (KC) Northup
Triathlete and Ironman
KC came into this world a runner.
Much like Forrest Gump, as a child, wherever she went, she was running! This naturally led to joining the middle school and high school track and field teams. Later in college, she found the triathlon club. The club gave her exposure to Sprint and Olympic distance events. But like so many beginning triathletes, her sights were soon set on completing a full Ironman.
Soon after graduation, she decided she could wait no longer to pursue her Ironman dream. Consequently, KC signed up for the full-distance Ironman Florida in 2010. KC went to work getting ready for the big race. However, in hindsight, she knew little about how to train for a race of that magnitude.
But she did know how to work hard, and she did know how to dig in and refuse to quit even when your body is way past its limits. And so she finished that race, but just barely. She could say she was an Ironman, but it certainly didn’t feel like a victory. KC saw so many other athletes out there making the event look so easy, finishing hours and hours before she did.
She decided this sport obviously just wasn’t something she was cut out to do.
Following the Ironman that broke her triathlon spirit, KC stayed active. She pursued other interests: tennis, soccer, rugby, and of course always running. Several years later, the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) was gaining popularity. It seemed like a fun challenge, so she signed up for a local elite division race in the longest distance they offered. Needless to say, KC won the race.
Standing on top of the podium being handed her winner’s check, she was hooked.
Competing in OCR events came naturally to KC. She quickly found more success and was soon running and winning in Pro level OCR races. She began winning both nationally and internationally. However, the excitement and validation of finally finding such success in an endurance sport eventually began to twist into a nagging question: “What went wrong with that Ironman?” And so, at the very peak of her competitive OCR success, she walked away and jumped back into triathlons. KC’s need to silence the nagging question was her new goal to overcome. That transition was in the summer of 2018.
In May of 2019, less than a year later, KC toed the starting line of another Ironman.
She was nine years wiser about her training and fueling. As a result, KC crossed the finish line strong, happy, and four hours faster than the first time. In 2019, she also competed in several 70.3 races. She finished 4th in her age group at 70.3 Puerto Rico and 3rd at 70.3 Lubbock.
KC earned her slot and competed in the 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France.
In 2020, KC hopes to continue to improve at both 70.3 and 140.6 distances and once again qualify for the 70.3 World Championship. She will then turn her sights to Kona.