Interview On The Level: Kathryn Tappen

Many members of Level Legion most likely know Kathryn Tappen from her hosting gig on NHL Network. If not that, then surely from her years of hosting the Bruins coverage on NESN. That must also mean that you know that she’s very knowledgable about sports (especially hockey), but did you know she was a Division I runner back in college?

Kathryn on set with Barry Melrose

That’s right, Kathryn was a member of the Rutgers cross country and track teams, the very same Scarlet Knights squads that featured 2012 Olympian Julie Culley. She’s also a supporter of the Level. In other words, if she wasn’t already your favorite on-air personality, this news should bump her to the top of the list.

We talked a little shop with Kathryn to get some more info on her days of collegiate competition.

How many years have you been running for?
I began running my freshman year in high school (’95) to stay in shape for basketball in the winter and softball in the spring, the other two sports I would play that year. Little did I know it would become my most dominant and successful sport.

In college (at Rutgers), did you run all four years and compete in XC/Indoor/Outdoor?
Yes. I ran freshman through senior year, all three seasons. I actually had to red shirt my Freshman year XC and indoor due to a back injury, so I still have some eligibility. Maybe with the NHL Lockout I can go back and run for RU!

Did you walk on or were you on scholarship?
I was on a scholarship.

What was your favorite season?
I loved XC because it was such an intimate group. There were 7 varsity runners and about 5 alternates if I can remember correctly. We would go on 12-15 mile distance runs together, running all over campus and beyond. In the summer we would meet at different parks in NJ and train together. Because XC is a small team and most of us were from NJ, it made training a ton of fun. Plus, I absolutely love running in the Fall, when the air is crisp and cool.

On the track, what was your best event, and what was your favorite?
My best two events were the 5K and the Steeplechase. My favorite event on the track, however, was when I ran the 800m in high school. I loved running as fast as I could for two laps. However, when I got to college I was not fast enough in the 800m at such an elite level, so I focused more on distance.

So just how good was Kathryn? She qualified for the Big East championships in XC, Indoor and Outdoor track, was an Academic All-American, and she shared with us:
My PRs? Gosh it was so long ago! I know I was in the high 17s for the 5K and mid-11′s in the steeplechase. I did hold the school record in the steeplechase, until a girl came along a few years after I graduated and beat my time by .006 seconds! I may have to use my red shirt to go back and reclaim the record :) But times and PR’s are trivial because in my mind, I just enjoyed being a member of a team and competing at the Division One level in sports.

How much running do you do now?
I run every day. I try to get in a minimum of 4 miles. I also like to do fartlek’s, hill repeats, and track workouts to change things up.

How often do you race and how competitive are you now?
I do not race competitively right now. My schedule of working most nights until about 2am on the air do not allow me to race 8am shotguns!  BUT, you will see me in the occasional Turkey Trot or charity 5K race.

Do you run more in Boston or on the road these days? Which is your favorite place to run and why?
I run mostly in Boston. I still live here and it’s my home base. I absolutely love running down the Cambridge side of the Charles River, crossing over it and coming back on the Esplanade on the Boston side. I get to see the skyline, sailboats, gorgeous campuses of Harvard and MIT, and everything else in between- on ONE run! Boston is one of the most picturesque cities and I am so blessed to call it my running “home”.

With all of the travel I do with work, I find that being a runner helps me learn my way around cities easier and quicker. I always bring my running shoes and get out of the hotel. When we were in LA covering the Stanley Cup Final this year, I went to the beach and just kept running. I had to look at my watch and make sure I got back in time to broadcast. Being on the beach was so soothing and the people watching was incredible, I lost track of time! I really love venturing out with my sneakers so I can truly get to see the beauty of the places I visit and work. It’s my personal escape!

You can see Kathryn hosting NHL Tonight on the NHL Network, and you can also follow her on Twitter (@KathrynTappen).

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