Karen Glerum, a standout track athlete for ISU from 1989-93, continued the Cyclone tradition of outstanding distance runners by earning All-America honors three times, winning one NCAA title and capturing five individual Big Eight crowns during her stellar career.
The Oost-Souburg, Netherlands, native began her career by winning the 800 meters Big Eight indoor title as a freshman in 1989. She added another conference title in the 1,000 meters indoor, and earned her first All-America honor in the 1,500 meters outdoor the following season. Her time in the 1990 NCAA outdoor 1,500 meter final (4:11.78) is still a school record and was second only to U.S. Olympian Mary Decker in Big Eight Conference history. After finishing fourth outdoors at 1,500 meters in 1991, she posted one of her finest seasons as a junior in 1992. Glerum won the 1,000 meter indoor Big Eight title and was the NCAA champion in the mile run with a time of 4:36.43, a clocking that continues to rank as an all-time high in the Cyclone record books and was the fastest time in Big Eight history.
Glerum capped off her senior season in 1993 by winning a pair of Big Eight titles at the conference meet, reigning supreme in the 1,000 meters and mile run. In all, Glerum won three 1,000 meter indoor Big Eight titles and three 1,500 meter Drake Relays championships. Glerum earned the 1993 Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year Award, was a 1992 District VII Academic All-America recipient and a seven-time academic all-Big Eight honoree.
Glerum graduated from ISU with a degree in journalism in 1992 and earned her master’s degree from ISU in journalism in 1993. She worked for NBC during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona as a track & field research assistant and was an assistant coach for the Iowa State women’s track & field team in the 1994-95 season.