Twelve Questions continues this week with a look at local legend Katey Angel. Katey has spent nearly 30 years working in running stores in the Portland area. Her tenure with PRC began a decade ago, and you can find her almost every day at PRC-Grand sharing her knowledge of all things running-related. When I asked about her post-high school education, she said she “graduated from the School of Hard Knocks.” One can only assume she earned her doctorate there. As if being the oracle of Portland running wasn’t enough, Katey is also a talented musician. She is currently playing the bass guitar in a duo with Alan Hager as well as with Bill Rhoades and the Party Kings. So whether her instrument of choice is a guitar or a pair of shoes, she’s helping make sweet music here in Portland.
Interview by Greg Mitchell.
Greg Mitchell In what city and state were you born?
Katey Angel I was born in Portland, Oregon.
GM What high school did you attend? What was the mascot?
KA I went to Cleveland High School here in Portland. The mascot at the time was the Indians.
GM What is your favorite musical instrument? Explain.
KA I enjoy a lot of them. I started to play the trumpet in fourth grade and stopped after eighth grade. I am now playing the electric bass in a blues band and a duo with Alan Hager.
GM I wanted to play the trumpet in the fourth grade too! My mom made me take piano lessons instead. Stupid piano lessons.
GM What is your favorite restaurant in the Portland area?
KA Portland has a lot of great restaurants! My favorite is the Taqueria Portland. They serve up a mean chicken burrito.
GM What is your current training shoe?
KA I have a whole closetful to choose from. In this business, it is easy to have a variety. Right now the Nike Free RN Distance mixed in with the Nike Lunar Tempo and the Hoka Clifton.
GM I know next time I ask you this you’ll say, “Chaser by 361 Degrees.” How do you not love a brand that has a mascot that looks like this?
GM What scares you more: clowns or snakes? Explain.
KA No fear of either one. I try not to be fearful of anything. It is just a waste of energy.
GM The fact that you have no fear of either frightens me.
GM What has been your favorite race experience of all-time?
KA I have many, but the two that stand out are the 1986 Portland Marathon and the 1988 Olympic Trials that I ran in.
GM This is where I brag on your behalf that you won the 1986 Portland Marathon.
GM What is your biggest pet-peeve?
KA Cell phones! The use of a cell phone with no regard for others in a place of business or a restaurant.
GM Sorry. What was that? I was on my phone.
GM Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
KA John Kay of the band Steppenwolf. You know, “Born to Be Wild.”
GM What is the most drastic change you have seen in the Portland running scene over the past few decades?
KA Lots of things have changed since I started running. There are more races to run. All the walking events now in conjunction with the running races. More people out there. The advent of chip timing. People wearing costumes.
GM I’ve seen race photos from the 1980s. Are you sure you weren’t wearing costumes?
GM Elevator or escalator?
KA I take the stairs. If no stairs, then the escalator.
GM What is the best advice you have ever received?
KA My own advice to myself… Listen to what people have to say and then make your own choice.