News & Updates

25 August 2021 • General

Q and A with Kerry White

Kerry White, Waikato Bay of Plenty & 433 Katherine Camp, Canterbury during the 2021 New Zealand Cross Country Championships at Chisholm Links Golf Club, on the 7th of August 2021. Mandatory Photo Credit: Clare Toia-Bailey /

Kerry White and Katherine Camp competing at the 2021 New Zealand Cross Country Championships (Photo: Allison Images)

Waikato’s Kerry White enjoyed the biggest win of her career so far after securing the New Zealand senior women’s cross country title in Dunedin earlier this month. Here the 27-year-old endurance ace takes on our regular Q and A segment.

Why did you start athletics?

As a youngster I tried just about every sport, but it was my parents who got me into athletics. I was a hyperactive kid and my parents had exhausted all options on how to tire me out. They were training for half marathons and encouraged me to join them on a lighter run. Annoyingly (for them), I’d run off ahead and jog back to them, without being overly tired and they quickly realised their plan wasn’t working. All I was doing was just getting fitter and more hyperactive. But from there they saw the potential, kept supporting it and as my enjoyment grew, I stuck at the sport.

What was the last piece of athletics advice you received?

Run your own race and believe in yourself.

What has been your career highlight?

Winning this year’s national cross country champs. What made this a highlight was knowing everything I had to overcome to get there and how it all clicked so perfectly on the day. It was a combination of overcoming health issues, injuries and mental barriers and for everything to all fall into place made me so happy. I questioned myself a lot, but I am so glad I never gave up and my persistence finally started to pay off.

What has been your athletics low?

Injuries. I was fortunate to not have had any injuries until I was aged about 22. However, later I sustained a series of significant injuries back-to-back to back. The lowest part was knowing I was doing everything right to avoid them, but the injuries were still happening. It was very frustrating and the mental challenge that followed. I trained with caution for a long time and it was causing me to race conservatively as well. I put up major mind blocks, and they have been really challenging to overcome.

Where do you see your athletics career ten years from now?

Probably retired, hopefully after achieving all of my goals and moving up through ranks (in athletics) or switching to triathlon.

What is your greatest mistake in athletics?

Not trusting myself and having the confidence to go for it. There’s been races where I have been in the best shape of my life and absolutely blown it by not putting myself in the race.

Which athlete is the most interesting to follow on social media?

Alexi Pappas. She’s one of few people on social media that shows her true self. She posts about everything, when things are going well but also the struggles and most people can take a lot from it.

Do you have a favourite athletics social media post?

Probably one from Brenda Martinez (the 2013 world 800m silver medallist) a while back where she quoted, “Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” This stuck with me because a lot of my plans throughout my life and my athletics career haven’t gone the way I wanted them to, but it’s always ended up working out in the end. So it’s a good reminder not to dwell on it and keep moving forward.

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be and why?

To increase female participation or even participation in general. Athletics drops off pretty quickly after high school so it would be nice to keep athletes in the sport longer, because what’s not to love about track and field.

Which athlete do you most admire from your event?

Angie Petty and Kat Camp. Both are amazingly talented, hard workers and all-round great people!

Outside of athletics what is your greatest accomplishment this year?

Getting as far as I have with my Masters degree. It hasn’t been easy during Covid, but I’m getting closer and I will be stoked to finally finish.

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

We had an assembly with the entire school in attendance and we had this game going on where you had to run up to the front of the stage before the other person and as I was running up I slipped over in front of everyone. It was really embarrassing, and people would say ‘I thought you were a runner’. I definitely would have laughed too though, so it’s okay!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A racoon, they have traits I see in myself. They are nocturnal at night. While they are typically scavengers, I like to think of them as making the best out of what opportunities they have and being resourceful. They are also really curious and show no fear.

Do you have a nickname?

Kezza or Kez.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

To teleport. It would save so much time and make travelling easy and convenient.

What is the funniest joke you know?

Because I am a bit of a science nerd, what do you call and acid with an attitude? A-mean-oh acid.

Where do you see yourself when you are 50?

Living off the grid in a tropical forest, with a lot of pets and my husband.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?

That we didn’t view the world so black and white, so we could understand each other a bit better.

If you could host a talk show, what three guests would you invite and why?

David Attenborough, because the man is so knowledgeable and I’d love to pick his brain about the natural world. Kevin Hart, because his responses to David Attenborough would be hilarious. And Usain Bolt, because he’s awesome and I’d love to meet him.