Kathy Butler – Interview


Kathy Butler is an endurance running coach and athlete. was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to England then Canada at 11 and again to the United States for University. As a result she has two citizenships (British and Canadian) and a green card to live and work in the US.

After a successful college career where she won 5 NCAA titles, she became a professional athlete and competed in 2 Olympics, Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004. Kathy competed in 21 World Championships in track, cross country and road, including 5 top 20 finishes at the world cross country and a team bronze medal.

Kathy graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1997 with a degree in Exercise Physiology and Biology (Dean’s list and Academic All-American). She was also a volunteer assistant coach at both the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University.

Kathy has a USATF Level 3 certified coach and USATF Coaching Education instructor, bringing a wealth of knowledge to coaching every athlete and coach whether it’s a first time marathoner or my elite athletes competing at Major Championships. In December 2017 Kathy was awarded the “Level 2 Coaches Rising Star Award” from USATF, USA Track & Field.



My philosophy is to coach the individual with a long term perspective. I always like to look at long term goals first and then work backwards. I think it’s important to always have a structure to training and a reason for doing the training that an athlete is doing. I also like to think of the person first as this effects what they are able to accomplish athletically. I think I have been fortunate to have great mentors in Peter Grinbergs, Peter Tegen and Steve Jones who all emphasized these same philosophies.

One of my high school girls winning a state championship in the 800m, while I have had athletes win many state titles this one was special because no one expected this girl to do as well as she did all season.

I think that in the US there is a bigger emphasis on doing the coaching education in person. A lot of the British system seems to be done online at the moment. Considering the geography you would think it might be the opposite! I think from a knowledge sharing, networking and coach cooperation perspective having coaches get together in person for education, conferences and seminars is really good. However, I understand that logistics make online convenient for many.