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Kevin Sullivan Canada

Quick Facts

Represents: Canada
Age: 40 (March 20, 1974)
College: University of Michigan 1998
Hometown: Brantford, Ontario
Residence: Tallahassee, FL
Affiliation: Reebok
Coach: Juli Henner
Personal Bests:
1500m 3:31.71 NR (2000)
Mile 3:50.26 NR (2000)
3000m 7:41.61 NR (2008)
3000m(i) 7:40.17 NR (2007)
2 Miles(i) 8:23.67 NR (2001)
5000m 13:19.27 (2007)

Career Highlights

  • Three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008)
  • 5th, 2000 Olympic Games
  • Silver Medalist, 2001 Goodwill Games and
    1994 Commonwealth Games
  • Holds Canadian Records at 1500m, Mile and 3000m outdoors and 2-Mile, 3000m indoors
  • 8-time National Champion
  • 6-time World Cross Country Championships team
  • 4-time NCAA champion, 12-time Big Ten Champion

Background

A 1998 graduate of Michigan with a degree in civil engineering, Kevin Sullivan is one of the best middle-distance runners in Big Ten and Canadian history, after starting early with a 3:59.29 mile in high school. In a brilliant collegiate career, he was just the third runner in Big Ten history to win four consecutive cross-country titles, and won NCAA titles in the indoor mile, Distance Medley Relay and 1500m.

In case anyone thought his career was winding down, Kevin has proved them wrong. In 2006, he ran faster than he had in five years, and started 2007 with a bang when he notched a National Record 7:40.17 for the indoor 3000m at the Tyson Invitational and a 13:19.27 personal best for 5000m at the Mt. SAC Relays. Kevin went on to make his eighth consecutive trip to the World Championships dating back to 1993, one of the longest streaks in the books. " A lot of it is just luck, managing injuries so they weren’t around during those World Champ years," he said, when asked his secret. "A lot of it, too, is being mentally focused and driven, wanting to succeed at that level. It’s not an easy task to even run the standard to get into that meet, so to do it every time since 1993 is a testament to my mental strength even more than the physical ability I have.”

Kevin is married to Canadian steeplechase champion Karen Harvey, an assistant oach at Florida State University. Although he gave “some serious thought” after the 2005 season to retiring, he decided instead to try a new coach: Juli Henner, an assistant at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “I’d been competing at a very high level for 13 or 14 years, going through the same routine at practice, and I think mentally I was just not excited any more,” he explained. “The years all kind of added up, and I needed to take a step back and try a fresh approach to things. (Now) there’s a new energy and new life to what I’m doing. I’m excited to train everyday; it’s become less of a job and become fun again.”

While Kevin takes pride in his experience, he also enjoys passing along what he's learned to younger runners. Competing in Europe, living out of a suitcase, waiting to find out when and where you will race next, trying to maintain a training regimen in unfamilar surroundings -- Kevin has lived through it and has a practical packet of helpful hints. But perhaps his best advice to up-and-comers is more far-reaching.

“At the end of the day, especially in this sport, you’ve got to have fun with it," he reflects. "If you think you’re going to make millions of dollars and gain fame and fortune, you’re in this sport for the wrong reason. Yes, the stakes are higher at the pro level, and there’s more money and more pressure, but just dumb it down and have fun with it. You’ll be more successful in the long run."

"And don’t pass the old man in the homestretch. Let him enjoy his last few years.”