Karina, who graduated with an undergraduate degree in chemistry from King’s many years ago, returned to the University last year to study physiotherapy. Having qualified as a personal trainer in 2016 and with six years of racing on the GBR team under her belt, moving into physiotherapy was a natural progression for Karina, enabling her to help and care for more people whilst giving her a fulfilling and practical vocation now that her four daughters are starting to grow up.
I am so excited with my results this year, placing on a world podium has always been the dream goal for me to hit, so it really has been the icing on the cake this season. I first tried triathlon as a sport in 2011 after 2 miscarriages and looking for a new focus in my life. At the time my two older daughters were 4 and 2 and juggling being a full-time mum, a doula and training was quite a handful, but I fell in love with the sport....and then fell pregnant with my twins!”– Karina Kaufmann
Taking time off after the birth of her twins, Karina picked up the sport again recreationally in 2014. She started racing for the GBR age-group team in 2017, competing in the sprint triathlon at the world championships in Rotterdam. Since then she has qualified to race for the team in both triathlon and duathlon every year. In 2019 she began to focus on duathlon, winning a sliver at the European champs. This spurred her on and she achieved another Euro silver in 2020, just before the pandemic closed everything down.
Speaking about her passion for the sport Karina said:
I love the variety of multisport racing, the different courses and most importantly the people involved. It is a wonderfully supportive (and competitive) atmosphere, celebrating each other’s successes and encouraging members of the team, no matter their age or experience. I hope to be a good role model for my girls and if I can inspire others along the way then that's a bonus.”– Karina Kaufmann
Enrolling in a full-time degree programme has necessitated that Karina change the way she trains: she and her coach pick out key sessions that supply the biggest cost-to-benefit ratio, and carefully balance training and stress load, recognising that recovery is starting to take longer as she ages. “I am very grateful for the support from King’s”, she says, “being a King's Sport Performance Athlete has been a massive help this year as well”.
Addressing her plans for the future, Karina is certain that she will continue to race, having already qualified for both triathlon and duathlon World and Euro Championships in 2023. “Being the best I can be is important to me, and maybe there will be more podiums to come.... hopefully some in the F45-49 category when I move up in a few years’ time (in 2025)!”
The King’s Sport Performance Programme provides elite student-athletes with a support network to help them perform to the highest level possible in their dual-career. Applications for the 22/23 Performance Athlete programme will open from 28 July 2022.