GoDuke.com Q&A With Cross Country Runner Keith Krieger
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DURHAM, N.C. - GoDuke.com sat down with cross country's Keith Krieger to discuss the upcoming season and learn a little more about the Marlton, N.J., native.  Kreiger was the first Duke runner in a quarter century to break the 30 minute mark in the 10,000m last year and is looking to take that momentum into this cross country season.

GoDuke.com: Why did you choose to come to Duke?
Keith Krieger:
I chose Duke partially because I found that it was the best combination of academics and athletics of any school I was looking at, as well as being in a nice, warm location.  The selling point though was I felt like the people on the team and at the school were much more friendly and down to earth than at many of the other schools I was looking at.

GD:  What are some things you hope to accomplish this season?
  For the past three years it has been a goal of our team to make it to nationals and run well there.  We’ve come very close but have not quite been good enough to make it.  With the talent we have coming back on this team, as well as the incoming freshman class, I think this year more than ever is our best chance of achieving that goal of running at the national meet.  Personally, my main goal is to run well at nationals and be in contention for an All-America finish.  If both of those goals are met, I’d be extremely happy with my team and my season.

GD:  Do you remember your first-ever competitive meet?
KK:  My first-ever competitive meet was a track meet in sixth grade when I was running for my town’s rec team.  A few of my friends ran track, so I decided to come out and try it.  My dad was a distance runner in high school and college, so I figured I would try running distance.  I ran the mile and placed in the bottom half of the race, but decided that I liked the sport and wanted to try and get good at it, so I finished up the season and have been running ever since.

GD:  Describe your most memorable cross country experience.
KK:  Probably my most memorable cross country experience happened last year at regionals.  I ran at ACCs two weeks beforehand after coming back from a nagging calf injury, and neither the team nor I did very well.  At the beginning of the season our team goal was to make nationals, and my personal goal was if we didn’t make nationals as a team, to make it as an individual, which usually takes being in about the top 10.  My race before ACCs was also very bad because of my injury, so I was a little unsure of the reality of my goals, but decided I wasn’t going to change them.  I decided to go with the front pack of 15 or so people in the race and hung with them the whole way up until about a mile to go.  At that point the pack started to break apart and I was somewhere in the middle of the 15.  At the same time I heard my coach saying that the team is running well, so that gave me further motivation.  I ended up finishing tenth, which was ten spots better than my finish the previous year and by far my best race of the season, and may have been the best race of my career.  On top of that the team ran its best race of the season up until then.  Unfortunately our team missed qualifying for nationals by two teams, and I missed qualifying individually by about five seconds, but I was so proud of how we rebounded from one of our worst races just two weeks before that.

GD:  What is your favorite thing about cross country?
KK:  It’s hard to say what my one favorite thing about cross country is.  I guess what I like most about it is the simplicity of it and how its just you against other people, no balls or nets or anything like that.  I just like how pure and basic the competition is.  Just run this far as fast as you can and whoever gets there first wins.  I think the only other sports that are like that are boxing, wrestling, and swimming.

GD:  What did you do this past summer?
KK:  This past summer I was working in Los Angeles for a consulting firm, Mercer, as an actuary for retirement funds.  Basically I would help companies figure out the best way to implement their retirement funds by performing calculations based on their workforce.  It doesn’t sound very exciting, but I liked the challenge of the job.

GD:  What are your plans for after graduation?
KK:  After graduation, I’m planning on working for an insurance company as an actuary, helping them create and price different insurance plans and helping them with their finances, but I am not sure what company I want to work for yet.  I’d like to live in southern California where I was this summer, or else work in New York, since its pretty close to where I am from in South Jersey.  I’d also like to try to extend my running career for a little longer and run some marathons, but would probably only do that for about a year, since its really hard to find enough time to train as much as I need to run well and work full-time, as I found out this summer.

GD:  What do you like to do in your free time?
KK:  I don’t really have any major hobbies besides running, so its pretty much the average college student things like watching TV, playing video games, listening to music, playing different sports, whiffle ball especially, things like that.
GD:  Do you have any other hobbies/talents besides cross country?
KK:  I really like listening to music, and try to go to as many concerts as I can.  I’m always trying to find new bands to listen to since there’s just so much out there that I haven’t heard yet, so that would probably be my biggest hobby.

GD:  If you could pick any other sport to play besides cross country what would it be?
KK:  I like the individuality of running and wouldn’t want success in my sport to be based so heavily on my teammates like a lot of sports are, so I would want to play more of an individual sport, but I’m not sure which one.  I’ve always liked to play tennis, so I guess that would be probably be the sport I would play.

GD:  If there was one place in the world you could visit where would it be?
KK:  I love traveling, and there are a lot of places I’d like to visit.  If I had to choose one place, though, it would be Nepal.  From pictures I’ve seen it looks amazing, and I’d like to visit somewhere that is completely different from America just to get an idea of what another lifestyle is like.

GD:  Who is your favorite athlete and why?
KK:  I can’t really say who my favorite athlete is.  An example of one athlete I like though is Tiger Woods.  He seems very humble even though he’s clearly the best in the PGA right now, and you always hear about him trying new things to improve his game, which shows that he really cares about doing well in his sport and that it’s not just about the money.

GD:  Who were your heroes growing up?
KK:  Honestly, I know its sounds really cheesy, but I’ve always looked up to my dad as somebody I want to emulate.  I don’t know if I subconsciously chose the same sport he played in high school and college as my sport, but growing up I’ve always wanted to be like my dad.

GD:  What is your favorite sports movie?
KK:  My favorite sports movie is either Rudy or Without Limits.  Without Limits is a movie about one of America’s best distance runners, Steve Prefontaine, so I can relate to it a lot more than some other sports movies, but I think Rudy achieving his dream of playing for Notre Dame by working as hard as he can everyday is one of the most inspirational movies ever.

GD:  What’s in our iPod right now?
KK:  I listen to pretty any type of music, but the things I’m listening to most now are lesser-known rock bands such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Bloc Party, Broken Social Scene, Slightly Stoopid, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys, and Arcade Fire, as well as some more popular bands such as Radiohead and The Flaming Lips. 

GD:  What is your favorite food?
KK:  My favorite meal is a German dish called sauerbraten, which is a sour-meat dish with a sour, thick brown gravy.  I’ve only had it at restaurant once, but whenever I come home and my mom asks me what I want to eat, the first thing is always sauerbraten.

GD: What is your dream job?
KK: I think the ideal job is being a professional athlete for a sport you enjoy playing.  It’s very difficult to make a living running track, but for most other sports you are getting paid more money than almost any other job in the world for doing something you started to do as a kid for fun.  I can’t think of a better situation than being paid for playing a game.

GD: What is the last movie you saw?
KK: The last movie I saw in the theaters was Pirates of the Caribbean, which was alright, but I liked the first one more.

GD: What is your favorite class at Duke?
KK: I really enjoy most of my economics classes, which is why I decided to major in it, but if I had to pick my favorite class I’ve ever had at Duke, I’d have to say it was an economics seminar called Decision Making in Business.  I liked it a lot because we would do a lot of case studies of problems that real companies have had in the past and we would solve them based on information we were given.  It was a lot more relevant to the real world than some of the more theoretical classes I’ve taken.

GD: Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
KK:  I don’t have any superstitions or anything like that, just some things like not eating within three hours of the race and always warming up at the same time before the race, but that’s just more of a routine to make sure my stomach is alright for the race and that I’m warmed up enough.

GD: What is your favorite TV show?
KK: Its probably a tie between Entourage and a new show on FX called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Entourage is a show about a movie star and is pretty much everybody’s dream world, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a hilarious show about a group of friends who own a bar in Philly, and reminds me of home since I’ve lived just outside of Philly all of my life.

GD: Do you have any siblings that play sports?
  My older sister ran track when she was in college at Georgia Tech five years ago, and all three of my brothers and I played a whole range of sports as soon as we could play in our town’s rec league up through high school, but I’m the only one that competitively plays a sport right now.