Kate Fagan

Ali on the Run Show Episode 528: Kate Fagan, Best-Selling Author, Sports Reporter, & Commentator

“I have to trust that I have something I want to say, and just double down on that.”

Kate Fagan is one of today’s most important voices in women’s sports. She is the best-selling author of three books — and is best-known in the running community as the author of What Made Maddy Run, about University of Pennsylvania runner Madison Holleran. Kate spent seven years as a columnist and feature writer for ESPN, she was a regular panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn, and she was host of Outside the Lines. Today, she writes for Sports Illustrated, and is co-host of the Off the Looking Glass podcast. In this conversation, we talk about Kate’s road to writing greatness, including why she never really wanted to be on TV, the compromises she made to herself along the way, and her time as a Division-1 basketball player struggling with her sexuality and identity while at the University of Colorado Boulder. She talks about the process of writing Split Image, and later writing What Made Maddy Run, and the emotions involved in both. Plus: all about Kate’s recent TEDxBoston talk, her take on why we watch sports, and her wishes for the future of women’s sports.

SPONSOR: UCAN — Go to ucan.co/ali and use code ALI for 20% off your next UCAN order.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What Kate’s watching right now, and what’s making her happy (4:30)
  • All about Kate’s writing process (8:00)
  • On caring — or not — about what people think, why Kate never wanted to be on TV, and her dreams for a women-centric sports show (9:30)
  • Kate’s efforts to get women’s sports covered by ESPN (24:30)
  • Kate’s TEDxBoston experience (28:45)
  • “Stakes & Storylines” (35:20)
  • How Kate got involved in sports (47:00)
  • Kate’s college dreams at University of Colorado at Boulder, and how she reflects now on her college experience (52:00)
  • How Kate became a magazine writer and book author (58:00)
  • Reflecting on Split Image and What Made Maddy Run (1:05:30)
  • Writing as a therapeutic process (1:19:40)
  • A day in the life of Kate Fagan (1:22:15)

For more, check out:

What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan

All the Colors Came Out by Kate Fagan

The Reappearing Act by Kate Fagan

Ali’s TEDxBoston talk

Kate’s TEDxBoston talk

Split Image by Kate Fagan for ESPN

Kara Goucher on Episode 525 of the Ali on the Run Show

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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