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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

katie knight

Ultra hybrid athlete Katie Knight has made a career of outrunning, outgunning, and outlasting the competition.

As a kid growing up in Iowa, Katie Knight was an athlete. A four-sport varsity athlete in high school, Knight went on to play college ice hockey and then establish herself as one of the country’s best hybrid athletes.

Meet Katie Knight

H&B: Tell me about growing up in Iowa — what inspired your love of sports?

Katie Knight: I grew up in a family of six kids—I was five of six. Growing up in a big family was hectic and fun—it was generally chaos. We were all athletes. I started playing sports when I was four years old. And I played ice hockey with the boys through high school since there weren’t girls’ teams. I was a four-sport varsity athlete in high school, with ice hockey, softball, swimming and diving, and track and field. 

My mom and aunt ran a fitness company from before I was born, so she sparked my love of fitness. She coached me in basketball, and my dad coached me in hockey so it was a very sports oriented childhood. I played ice hockey at Iowa State University for two years before transferring to Ithaca College in upstate New York where I finished my degree.

H&B: You’re classified as a hybrid athlete—what is that?

katie knight

KK: It’s a combination of strength and endurance. A lot of competitions in this sport combine both of those things, so you’re going to have to run fast and long and then do strength movements like lifting and moving weight. It’s becoming more popular with the popularity of OCRs (obstacle course races) like Spartans and Tough Mudders. I do the 24-hour races with the ultra distances. Last year, I competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder in Atmore, Alabama, and in 2021, I won it in Loughlin, Nevada. 

H&B: Prior to getting into the OCRs in 2021, what were you doing?

KK: In 2016, my mom started CrossFit, and she got all of us kids into it. After college hockey, I got really into CrossFit and did a lot of competitions. I became a CrossFit coach, then a bunch of my friends in Boulder decided to do the Rim to Rim to Rim race in the Grand Canyon, which is 50 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. At the time, I hadn’t run over 12 miles. I hated running. I trained myself up to the race, and I came out of it thinking, “Wow this is amazing.” So I started doing trail ultras, 50 milers, 50ks. Then I started doing the ultra Spartans, and I loved it because it combined the strength and running. 

H&B: You’re obviously in peak physical condition. What does a normal training day look like for you?

KK: I do like three A races a year and sprinkle a few more in through the year. Summer through fall is my ultra training period, so I’ll do mountain bike racing and local trail races. A typical training day really depends on what time of year it is, but I combine strength sessions with a run or a bike ride, and then I’ll do endurance training a couple times a week, and I do my long runs on Saturday. It’s usually six to eight hours of gym time a week and around 50 miles of running.

H&B: You mentioned mountain biking. Are you competing in that as well or is it more part of your training?

KK: Kind of both. It’s mostly for training. I do road biking and trail rides, which decreases the amount of pounding on your joints but also creates leg drive and power for the running. Being in Colorado, everybody mountain bikes. I did the Go Pro Games two years ago, and it was a lot of fun.

H&B:  With all that you do, your body takes a beating. What’s been your most significant injury?

KK: I have been blessed that I haven’t any real significant injuries. I have one rest day a week, and I take that very seriously. I listen to my body. Strength training and building muscle helps to avoid injury.

H&B: I saw pictures of you shooting a bow and guns. How did you get into that?

katie knight

KK: Growing up in Iowa, my brothers and my dad hunted Iowa whitetail. Hunting is something I’ve been around my whole life. Within the last year, I’ve gotten really into shooting and bowhunting—taking it more seriously. I’d like to get in to some archery competitions. And I did the Tactical Games—which essentially combines CrossFit and functional fitness with shooting. You have three rounds of fitness combined with short-range and long-range target shooting. I did an individual event back home in Iowa, and my brothers came. I borrowed all my brother’s gear. I’m a lefty, and I was using his righty AR. It was so fun! Then I did a team event in West Virginia. 

H&B: Do you want to do more hunting?

KK: Yes, I want to get into bowhunting — I want to do an elk hunt next year.

H&B: Tell me about the Go Ruck games?

KK: The first Go Ruck Games were in 2022, and I won that one. After I won, I became one of the first female Go Ruck sponsored athletes. They’re my title sponsor. I’d recommend rucking to anybody and everybody. Their gear is amazing. I’m helping them build out their women’s apparel line, which is fun. I only want to work with people where there’s a genuine fit in my life, and Go Ruck definitely does.

H&B: What are your future plans and goals athletically?

KK: Right now, I’m a full-time athlete concentrating on the strength and endurance type races. But I think in the next chapter, it’s going to more in the endurance lane. I want to get in to the toughest endurance races in the world, triathlons and trail ultra marathons.

The Iron Man is on my agenda, once I can let go of the strength component of my training and go all in on the endurance side. When I show up to ultra marathons, people don’t believe that I can run them because I have muscle. I think muscle and being strong helps me be a better runner, but as I get more into the ultra endurance world, things will change. 

H&B: Do you have dedicated training partners that push you and challenge you to be your best?

KK: Yes, I have my home gym here in Colorado, called Koda CrossFit Iron View, and it’s an amazing community. For the endurance side, I’m a lone wolf and train alone 90 percent of the time.

H&B: What do you do to relax and have fun?

KK: I have a Golden Retriever named Douglas who is the love of my life. I spend most of my free time with him. We do a lot of hikes, and he runs probably 15 to 20 miles with me a week. We play fetch, and he swims. And now that I’m more into shooting, my friends and I will go to the bow range. Pickleball is fun! Not a ton of relaxing actually.

H&B: What is your advice to someone who wants to incorporate some fitness into their life (not to your level); how do they get started?

KK: Start where you are, but just start. If it’s running, start by doing five minutes, and the next day run 10, and the next week run 20. You just have to do it and take that first step. And it helps to have a community to support you—it’s way more fun to run five minutes if you have someone to do it with. So find a community and an accountability partner. 

H&B: Describe your perfect day.

KK: Iced coffee is a must. No matter what time of year. Then I’d probably go for a trail run in the mountains. Doug and I would go for a nice run. And then probably hit a gym session. It’s what I love to do!


Stacy Lyn Harris’s Home Life of Adventure
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