News & Updates

5 October 2022 • Road

Camp seeks more distance to reignite the passion

Katherine Camp in action during the 2021 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships (Photo: Alisha Lovrich)

Katherine Camp may be best known for her exploits over 800m and 1500m but a recent change of approach and a move to step up in distance has reinvigorated her career which she hopes will bear fruit at the New Zealand Half Marathon Championships in Cambridge on Sunday 16 October.

The 30-year-old Christchurch-based athlete is a ten-time national medallist over distance from 800m to the mile but she emerged from the 2021-22 domestic season feeling “demotivated.”

“It was a little disappointing for me,” says Katherine, who did win New Zealand 800m silver and 1500m bronze medals in March. “I expected more from myself, and I found it mentally as well as physically tiring. I went into the season with an injury, which made it ten times harder. This made training and racing quite difficult and then not being able to compete as I would have wanted left me quite bummed.”

Going back to the drawing board she opted to spend four-and-a-half months living with her partner in Toronto, Canada during the Northern Hemisphere summer – and the move proved just the tonic.

In a base training period, she placed more focus on competing over the longer distances. She ran her first 5000m on the track – running 16:23.50 in New York City – and also won the Toronto Half Marathon in 1:18:31 – a time one second slower than her one previous race over the distance in Christchurch last year.

“I was definitely in the back of my mind that I would do longer races,” she explains. “Then if it went well, I knew that is maybe the direction I would go and that it would be open up new possibilities.”

Katherine insists her mileage has not increased by much, but she believes my replacing speed sessions with more marathon paced sessions has had a positive impact on her body.

“I’ve really enjoyed not hammering myself every single session, it has made training a wee bit more enjoyable, and I’ve certainly benefited from it more. My body responds better and the injuries are fewer.”

After enjoying some good results in North America, which included a positive first competitive track experience over 5000m she is relishing her next outing in Cambridge which will see Katherine – who hails from Te Awamutu – return to compete in her native Waikato.

“I always like to go home when I can and I will be staying with my auntie and I’ll also get the chance to see my parents,” she explains. “My two previous half marathons I’ve put no pressure on myself because it is still quite a new event for me, and I’ve got no expectation. It is like a new area to explore, and I enjoy the fact there is no expectation. I just want to go and see if I can beat 1:18 – which I’ve ran twice – and see how I can perform against girls who are more specialist half marathon runners.”

Looking ahead to the summer campaign, Katherine, who is coached by Maria Hassan, is hoping to run a couple more 5000m – but she also has half an eye on winning selection for the New Zealand team at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia in February.

“I hope to run a good 10km and run the qualification mark at a meet in Timaru in early November,” she adds of her quest to make the team for the World Cross Country Championships.