Athlete of the Week: Joe Kortenhof

Photo by Emei Thompson.

This week I sat down with track superstar, sophomore Joe Kortenhof. Kortenhof has been a standout since his freshman year, consistently placing in the top ten at meets. Kortenhof recently placed second in the 10,000-meter race at the Midwest Conference Championships on Friday, May 11, and was 33 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher.


Arianna Cohen: You had a great weekend at the conference championships, finishing second and far ahead of the third-place finisher. What was going through your mind when you crossed the finish line?

Joe Kortenhof: It was really awesome placing second in the 10k this weekend. This season I struggled with some iron absorption issues, so I was really happy that I was able to perform as well as I did. The 10k is kind of a grueling 25 laps around the track so I was pretty relieved when I crossed the finish line, but I was also really excited and happy. My brother was able to FaceTime my parents into the race (I’m from Portland so they weren’t able to come to the meet), so I got to talk to them briefly after I crossed the finish line which was really nice and meant a lot to me.


AC: Being a volleyball player, I have truly never understood what runners say when they explain a “runners high.” Do you experience this at all?

JK: Yes, I definitely experience runner’s high. I think it’s slightly different for every runner, but for me it’s just the sense of accomplishment I get from running. Although it’s painful, it feels amazing to push my body as hard as it possibly can go. I know it sounds odd but that complete exhaustion gives me a surge of energy that’s really hard to explain. I don’t think you can truly understand it until you start running and experience it for yourself.


AC: As the season comes to a close, what are you most looking forward to in these next few weeks?

JK: I am looking forward to just relaxing and hanging out with my friends these last few weeks of school. It’s been a tiring year of running and it will be nice to have a reset before starting up training for cross country this summer.


AC: What has been your favorite moment this season?

JK: I don’t know if I can pinpoint one single moment. I love hanging out with the team after hard workouts and eating dinner with them after practice. My favorite moments aren’t necessarily at meets. Sometimes they are, but more often they are just spending time with my teammates, be that on a run or hanging out during our free time.

AC: Do you have any pre-run rituals?

JK: No, I don’t really have any pre-race rituals. We always do a three-mile warm up and some stretching and strides before racing. I usually try to stay as calm as possible and not think much about the race beforehand, otherwise I get too stressed out.