Kara Goucher

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Kara Goucher
Kara Goucher Boston 2009.jpg
Kara Goucher at the 2009 Boston Marathon
Personal information
Born (1978-07-09) July 9, 1978 (age 44)
Queens, New York
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
CountryUnited States
Event(s)5000 meters, 10,000 meters, marathon
College teamColorado Buffaloes
Coached by
Achievements and titles
World finals2007
10,000 m,  Silver
Marathon, 10th
10,000 m, 13th
Olympic finals2008
10,000 m, 8th
5000 m, 8th
Marathon, 10th
Personal best(s)
Medal record

Kara Goucher (born Kara Grgas[2] on July 9, 1978) is an American long-distance runner. She was the 10,000 meters silver medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics and represented the USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.[3] She made her marathon debut in 2008 and finished third the following year at the Boston Marathon.

She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion (twice in track and once in cross country).

Personal life[edit]

Goucher was born Kara Grgas in Queens, New York. When she was four years old her family moved to Duluth, Minnesota, after her father was killed by a drunk driver on the Harlem River Drive.[4] When her mother remarried, Kara took her stepfather's name and was known as Kara Grgas-Wheeler. She ran in high school for Duluth East.[citation needed]

She married fellow Colorado runner and US Olympian Adam Goucher in 2001,[5] competing as Kara Goucher from that point forward. Kara gave birth to their son, Colton (Colt) Mirko Goucher, on September 25, 2010. In 2014, she moved with her family from Portland, Oregon to Boulder, Colorado. Both Kara and Adam hold individual NCAA cross country titles, from 2000 and 1998 respectively.

In 2021, Goucher was diagnosed with repetitive exercise dystonia after noticing lack of sensation in her legs and difficulty running.[6]

Running career[edit]


As a runner for the University of Colorado, Goucher broke out in 2000, becoming the NCAA Outdoor Champion in 3000 m and 5000 m, the NCAA Cross Country Champion, and also a 5000 m Olympic Trials Finalist (eighth). She won the Honda Sports Award as the best female collegiate cross country runner in the nation in 2001.[7][8] She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2001.


After college Goucher battled injuries for several years, but then came back strong in 2006. After finishing second in the 5K at the USATF Outdoor Championships in 2006, she set PRs at all distances on the international circuit, running the World "A" Standard in the 1500 m, 5000 m, and 10000 m. She finished third in 3000 metres at the 2006 IAAF World Cup in a new personal best time of 8:41.42. Her 3k time led the nation and her 10k time ranked her as the 2nd fastest American woman of all-time. At the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan she won the silver medal in the women's 10,000 m event.

In September 2007, she won the Great North Run in 1:06:57, the fastest woman's half-marathon time of the year, setting a new American best time[9] at the distance and beating marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe, on the latter's comeback from pregnancy and injury.[10] The half-marathon was Goucher's first competitive race longer than 10k.

Goucher kicked off 2008 with a win in the prestigious Millrose Games mile with a personal record of 4:36:03. At the 2008 Prefontaine Classic track meet in Eugene, Oregon, USA, Goucher ran the 5000 m, the same race as the World Record attempt by Meseret Defar. Goucher ran well to place third behind Defar and Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot in her second fastest ever time of 14:58.10 minutes.

Goucher raced in the USATF Championships and Olympic Trials on June 27, 2008, in the 5000 m and the 10,000 m. The championships were held at Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon. Goucher already had the Olympic A Standard, but achieved it again, recording 31:37.72 at 10,000 m, finishing second behind American record-holder Shalane Flanagan's 31:34.81. In the 5000 m, Goucher won her semi final heat with a time of 15:32.32, and won the final race with a time of 15:01.02.[11] Goucher competed in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics 10,000 m final where she placed tenth with a personal best time of 30:55.16, and the 5000 m where she placed ninth with a time of 15:49.39.

Goucher made her marathon debut at the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2008.[12] She finished in third place in a time of 2:25:53, becoming the first American on the podium since Anne Marie Lauck was third in 1994. Goucher was chosen as the 2008 Road Runner of the Year in the Open Female division by the Road Runners Club of America.

The next year, she won the 2009 Lisbon Half Marathon,[13] and placed third in the 2009 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:32:25. She finished tenth in the marathon at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, with a time of 2:27:48.

Goucher became pregnant in early 2010 and took a season away from competition as a result.[14] Following the birth of her child, she returned to competition at the Arizona Half Marathon in January 2011, and finished as the runner-up behind Madaí Pérez.[15] At the 2011 New York City Half Marathon, she placed third with a time of 1:09:03 hours.[16]

In April 2011, Goucher returned to marathoning at the 2011 Boston Marathon, where she placed fifth with a time of 2:24:52 hours, setting a new personal best by a minute. She was runner-up to Shalane Flanagan over 10,000 m at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and later ran in the event at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, where she finished 13th overall. In December, she competed at the inaugural Miami Beach Half Marathon and was again second behind Flanagan.[17] Goucher left Nike‘s Oregon Project in October 2011 after seven years.[18]

Goucher qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics by placing third at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials on January 14, 2012 in Houston, finishing with a time of 2:26:06.[19] She came third at the New York Half Marathon that March, running a time of 1:09:12 hours.[20] Goucher placed 11th in the 2012 Summer Olympics with a time of 2:26.07.[21]

She returned to the 2013 Boston Marathon on April 15, placing 6th with a time of 2:28:11. The event would later be disrupted by a pair of consecutive explosions near the finish line, killing three spectators and injuring over 180 others. At the time of the explosions, she was resting in her hotel room with her family, the blasts close enough to shake the windows to their room.[22][23]

Goucher competed in the Philadelphia Half Marathon on September 21, 2014. She was sixth with a time of 1:11:39.[24] Kara placed 14th (4th among American women) in the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014 in 2:37:03.

Goucher finished 18th in the 2015 USATF Championships with a time of 16:05.35.[25] On 13 February 2016, Goucher placed fourth at the US Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing in 2:30:24.[26]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
2006 World Cup Athens, Greece 3rd 3000 m 8:41.42
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 2nd 10,000 m 32:02.05
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 9th 10,000 m 30:55.16
2008 New York City Marathon New York, New York, USA 3rd Marathon 2:25:53
2009 Boston Marathon Boston, Massachusetts, USA 3rd Marathon 2:32:25
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 9th Marathon 2:27:48[27]
2011 Boston Marathon Boston, Massachusetts, USA 5th Marathon 2:24:52
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 13th 10,000m 32:29.58
2012 U.S Olympic Marathon Trials Houston, Texas 3rd Marathon 2:26:06
2012 USA Half Marathon Championships Duluth, Minnesota, USA 1st Half-marathon 1:09:46
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 10th Marathon 2:26:07
2013 Boston Marathon Boston, Massachusetts, USA 6th Marathon 2:28:11
2014 New York City Marathon New York, New York, USA 14th Marathon 2:37:03
2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon San Antonio, Texas, USA 1st Half-marathon 1:11:10
2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Los Angeles, California, USA 4th Marathon 2:30:24

Personal records[edit]

distance performance location date
1500 m 4:05.14 Rieti August 27, 2006
One mile (indoor) 4:33.19 New York City January 30, 2009
2000 m 5:41.28 Eugene, Oregon June 7, 2009
3000 m 8:34.99 Rieti September 9, 2007
Two Miles 9:41.32 Carson, CA May 20, 2007
5000 m 14:55.02 Berlin September 16, 2007
10,000 m 30:55.16 Beijing August 15, 2008
10 miles[28] 53:16 Minneapolis, MN October 5, 2008
Half marathon
(point to point)
1:06:57 Newcastle September 30, 2007
Half marathon 1:08:05 Chicago, Illinois August 2, 2009
Marathon 2:24:52 Boston, MA April 18, 2011


  1. ^ a b All-Athletics. "Profile of Kara Goucher".
  2. ^ Blount, Rachel (June 28, 2008). "Duluth to Beijing via Oregon". StarTribune. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "Kara Goucher - Athletics - Olympic Athlete | London 2012". Archived from the original on April 5, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Longman, Jerel (November 2, 2008). "Radcliffe Reasserts Her Supremacy". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
  5. ^ "Career timeline of Kara and Adam Goucher". The Denver Post. April 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Goucher reveals diagnosis of neurological disorder". Duluth News Tribune. February 8, 2022.
  7. ^ "Kara Grgas-Wheeler 2001". Sportswomen of Colorado. July 9, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "Cross Country". CWSA. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  9. ^ Under IAAF rules the Great North Run is not eligible for record times, being more than 21m downhill from start to finish.
  10. ^ "Radcliffe beaten in comeback race". BBC. September 30, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  11. ^ "USATF – Events – 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field". Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  12. ^ "Kara Goucher to Make Her Marathon Debut at the ING New York City Marathon". Cool Running. September 10, 2008
  13. ^ IAAF, March 22, 2009: Lel and Goucher win in Lisbon Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Shea, Sarah Bowen (May 8, 2010). "A Friendship Built for Long Distance". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  15. ^ Perez outruns Goucher at Phoenix Half Marathon. IAAF (January 17, 2011). Retrieved on 2011-01-20.
  16. ^ "Farah wins New York half-marathon". ESPN. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  17. ^ Flanagan, with sights on London qualification, runs 1:09:58 in Miami Beach. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-12-16.
  18. ^ "Alberto Salazar confirms Kara Goucher is leaving the Nike Oregon Project". October 5, 2011.
  19. ^ AP (January 14, 2012). "Keflezighi, Flanagan run to victory at U.S. Olympic marathon trials". CNN. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  20. ^ Kirui and Dado triumph in New York Half Marathon. IAAF (March 18, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-03-25.
  21. ^ Goucher leads the pack but finishes 11th in London Olympics marathon
  22. ^ "2013 Boston Marathon Results". Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "flotrack.org: Kara Goucher Recalls the Explosions at the Boston Marathon". Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  24. ^ Gambaccini, Peter (July 30, 2014). "Kara Goucher Will Return to Racing at Philly Half Marathon". www.runnersworld.com.
  25. ^ Eggers, Kerry. "Doping scandal takes wind out of Goucher", "Portland Tribune", 2 July 2015. Retrieved on 3 July 2015.
  26. ^ 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon/Results
  27. ^ Interview with Kara Goucher on 09 October 2013 on behalf of AKL Communications
  28. ^ "Medtronic TC 10 Mile", OnlineRaceResukts. October 5, 2008; "October 7: 'This Gives Me Confidence,' Kara Goucher Says of USA 10-Mile Triumph". Runner's world October 7, 2008

External links[edit]