Colorado's Kipp Going The Distance

By Alisha Roemeling

Shalaya Kipp, a junior at the University of Colorado and a decorated cross-country runner has been an athlete her entire life. Alpine skiing being her first major sport, running was just a way to stay in shape.

As she walks in to the indoor track on the Boulder campus, Kipp apologizes for being a few moments late, as she got caught up in her calculus class. Double majoring in integrative physiology and psychology, she is a busy student. Wearing Birkenstocks and track shorts, she fits right in to the CU student body.

Kipp, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, says that she chose to come to CU because of its familiarity.

"It's a lot like Utah, it's surrounded by mountains, and the scenery is extremely similar," she said. "I wanted to get out of the state, but still be close enough to drive home. It's the perfect place for me."

In the past year, not only did Kipp earn a spot on the varsity team as a redshirt freshman, she also scored in all five varsity meets for the Buffaloes in the 2010 cross country season. Kipp also placed third in the Rocky Mountain Shootout behind two of her teammates. Not only has she made great strides within the cross-country realm, she also has set several records on the indoor and outdoor track as well.

During the 2010 track season, Kipp ran several races, winning two of the five, and also set a season-best time in the 3K Big 12 Championship, placing 16th. This avid runner only seems to continue to improve with time.

Although Kipp does quite well on the track, she enjoys cross-country and long distance runs a bit more. "I've always been a long distance runner, I think I wanted to do sprinting because I thought 'Oh, I'll get done a lot sooner.' But it was pretty evident that I was a long distance runner from the start," she said.

Participating in alpine ski racing throughout high school, Kipp decided to check out some ski programs close to home to see if it were something she wanted to pursue.

"Ski racing was kind of my big sport. I was just running on the side to stay in shape for skiing," Kipp said. "I started looking at schools my junior year of high school, and actually the first time I looked at CU it was for their ski program. By my senior year I decided I wanted to run in college, and then skiing kind of phased out and running took over."

The longevity of running as a hobby was part of her reason for the switch.

"That's how I decided between skiing and running," she said. "Running is more of a lifetime sport that you can do almost anywhere, even when you're on vacation you can go out on a run. Skiing is a bit more complicated in that you have to have all of your equipment, and the passes are only seasonal and so on."

Having been involved in sports for the majority of her life, running seems to be second nature to Kipp.

"I run seventy miles a week, so each day varies depending on the work out that day, whether it's and easy day or not. We run every day regardless," she said.

What seems to be an insane amount of exercise for most people is something that Kipp enjoys.

"I like running because it's an individual sport but you still get the team aspect as well," Kipp said. "You go out on runs with your teammates, and train together but come race day, it comes down to just what you do, and that's a great feeling for me."

Boulder, being in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is a great place to stay in shape. That mile high air is harder to breathe, and makes for a tremendous athlete.

"I really love to run in the mountains. Anywhere up high really I think is a lot of fun," Kipp said. "As for a favorite spot to run I can't think of anywhere specifically, but I can tell you I do not like to run on campus. I like to run where I don't really see any other faces."

When asked what she thought would be different about the upcoming season she said, "Well, because I'm an upperclassman, there's more pressure. In the past, the attitude has been 'Just run and do your best,' and I think this year is a little different. As for improving, I need to train harder and do what my coaches tell me to. I think the combination of the two will lead to a successful season."

As for Kipp's plans for the future: "I'm thinking about going to medical school, or maybe some other sort of graduate program.

"It depends on where running takes me."

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