September 29, 2010

The Kate Roberts Interview


Why the “pure” to all your tags – email, twitter, etc?

I use the “pure” due to the fact that there are a ridiculous amount of “Kate Roberts’s” in this world. (editors note: this is true, I did a Google search for pictures of Kate, and there were plenty of other Kate Roberts’s) I was not able to use the username: Kate Roberts, so I decided to combine “Kate” or “Katie” with the word “Pure” As Kate and Katie means “Pure” hence the usernames katiepure and katerobertspure.

Tell the readers a bit about what it took for you to get where you are now in the world rankings with a move of continent, coach, etc… it looks glamorous but tell us about the nitty gritty stuff that is really hard about attempting to be the best in the world

After the Beijing Olympic Games I made the decision to look for an international triathlon coach, as I really believed that I could improve on my 32nd position in Beijing. I came to the realization that I was not going to progress further; if I continued in the same way that I did before Beijing. As someone who takes their professional extremely seriously, I wanted to do whatever it took to be the best.

In December 2008 I left the comfort of home for Australia and joined a squad of athletes under the guidance of Dr Darren Smith. We are a squad of 8 girls training together, with the exception of 4 male partners. I have undeniably learnt a great deal these past 18 months from Darren as well as my superb training partners.

My training partners include the likes of: Lisa Norden from Sweden, Vendula Frintova from Czech Republic, Barbara Riveros from Chile, Vicky Holland from Great Britain, Sarah Groff from the USA and Lauren Campbell from Canada. (Females) Andreas Gigmalyr from Austria, Bryan Keane from Ireland. Dave Matthews and Michael Gosman whom are both from Australia. (Males).

(Ed’s note: That list reads like a who’s who in the sport of triathlon. Kate clearly, was not scared of jumping in the deep end)

Darren, your typical hard core Aussie runs a training system where he trains us in Canberra, Australia from December/January until April/May every year. Then from May we head over to Europe and base ourselves in place called Davos in Switzerland for the European season of racing. Davos is situated on the German side of Switzerland and at an altitude of 1500m above sea level.

Darren adopts a hands on coaching method, where he attends all our training sessions, which I believe gives me a enormous advantage, as he can see how I am coping with training and racing on a daily basis and he is also able to give me exceptional technical advice that an online coach would not be able to do for me.

It has been a massive expense from my part and but I am really happy that I made this decision as I know that I have one of the best coaches in the world and thus I am doing things in the right way in my determination to be a world class triathlete.

I have so many stories that I would like to share with the readers about Darren but this could take a while.. So here are a few comments Darren likes to say to me..

Katie, how can you possibly go so slow?

Katie, I have never seen anyone as hopeless a cyclist as you!

Katie, how many times do I need to tell you, to get your act together or go and get yourself a day job!

Katie, you really are a dumb blonde. I need you to think for yourself.

Katie, for goodness sake, you are clearly not going hard enough. I expect more from you!


Do you eat a specific diet or are you one of the lucky few who eat whatever it put down in front of them.

I wish!

I am not one of the lucky ones who eats all that gets put before them and doesn’t pay the consequence. I do not follow a specific diet and I am not mental when it comes to diet but I like to eat healthy foods, as I believe that by following a decent diet then I just feel superior about myself and this contributes to good training and overall racing.

Eating healthily but without the obsessive behavior that goes along with it, means faster recovery and with Darren’s sessions, session to session recovery is the most important thing in the world to me.

How is the ITU circuit different now than it was a few years back in terms of the times the woman are doing, how tactics have changed and how much more regularly you need to race now?

The racing certainly seems to be getting tougher each year. I would say that the dynamics of the racing changes every year. This year, the girls appeared to be a whole lot closer on the run, than in previous years. (Bar Emma Snowsill at the final in Budapest) There were plenty of sprint finishes in the World Championships Series races. You do not see the girls breaking on the bike, like they do in the men’s races but maybe next year, there could be a few races, where the girls decide to be brave and go for a break during the cycle. The swimming is always very violent and psychologically you need to be tough to handle the “scrum” in the water. But I believe that now days, it is vital to be a completely well rounded athlete in all three disciplines.

For up and coming South Africans with hopes of making it to the Olympics, won’t you please set out the truths about the commitment and the sacrifice needed to get to the top. What can they expect?

The Olympics is such a special and magnificent event and I think that it certainly was worth all the effort and struggle to get there. It is by no means an easy process qualifying for the games and at the end of the day you are doing it for the complete love of the sport.

To be a true professional is years of commitment, determination and being able to survive on very little if you are in a niche sport like me. It was anything but easy and what the public sees when we race is just a tiny piece of the entire puzzle.

Politics, bucket loads of effort, tears, determination are a few of the fundamentals involved in getting there but honestly the immense pride and joy I experienced by competing at the games was worth every little bit of sacrifice.

If you could take any 3 people who ever lived to dinner with you, who would you take and why?

Gosh, now you have me thinking. I would need to be surrounded by someone whom I feel at ease with, so I am going to say that the first person on my list would be my twin sister Tessa. The next two people will be rather clichéd but I would very much like to have dinner with the USA president Barack Obama and also the cycling legend Lance Armstrong. They are two very influential people and I would love to pick their brains.

What can we expect from you for 2011?

That is a good question. I would just love, more than anything, to ultimately get onto a podium in a World Championships Series race and I am hoping that 2011 will be the year I can do that. If I can continue to race as consistently as I have this year, next year, then I will be thrilled. It is just a matter of staying injury free, keeping the focus as well as motivation going.

How much periodization is there for the short course athletes in your training program with the amount of racing you do.

The good thing about racing in Olympic distance triathlons is that we are able to race a lot more than Ironman and Half Ironman athletes. The structure that I follow is to a large base block of training for about 16 to weeks. (From January to April) This is where I put more emphasis on mileage and do lower intensity training. Then when the racing season starts come April. I tend to back off the miles and up the intensity of the training, so that I can get my leg speed up and my adapted to racing specific requirements.

Give a shout out to your sponsors…

Thanks so much indeed to the loyal support from my two main sponsors Greg Reis at BSG and John Taylor at Chocolate Graphics. Without their help, belief in me and encouragement throughout my year, I undoubtedly would not have had the year that I did have. I can never thank them enough and I hope to make them proud in 2011 and beyond.


Thanks to Kate for answering the questions and sending through some great photos of her rocking kit. I am thinking in 2011 the Urban Ninja should do a race in a suit like that? Maybe old school like Kenny Souza in a speedo and tri vest, minus the peroxide streaks in the Bon Jovi hair?

2 Comments on “The Kate Roberts Interview

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Raoul de Jongh, Collin Alllin. Collin Alllin said: Great girl, proves hard work pays off RT @raouldejongh: The Kate Roberts Interview. #triathlon #olympics @katiepure […]

Jorg Knorr
September 29, 2010 at 10:45 am

katie….awesome stuff chicken…so stoked that things are working out for you and let the future be bright. Strength and endurance and happy birthday to you, I know it is somewhere in October. Cheers Jorg.


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