While every runner has a unique story, Kim's journey to the world of professional running does not resemble the path of many of her fellow competitors. Growing up in Santa Rosa, California Kim's track career began in 1998 when she joined the Santa Rosa Express Track Club. Her passion and dedication to the sport grew in her years as a part of the cross country and track teams at Slater Middle school and Montgomery High School. She went on to compete at UC Davis, but despite steady improvement over her years as an Aggie, she graduated in 2009 with only one national-level collegiate appearance to her name, and without ever qualifying for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Although her 5000m PR of 16:17.51 was almost a minute slower than the 2012 Olympic qualifying standard of 15:20, Kim believed she had unfinished business in the sport of Track and Field, and she decided to pursue post-collegiate running to discover what more she could accomplish.
Over the next three years Kim progressively shaved time off her PRs, while also learning to compete among the nation's top athletes. In the fall of 2011, Kim had a series of top finishes at national road races as well as the opportunity to represent the US at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she finished 7th in the 5000m.
Kim emerged definitively on the professional running scene at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR. In one of the most dramatic races of the meet, Kim mounted a comeback effort over the final lap, culminating in a sprint down the home stretch to move from 5th place to a 3rd place. Kim's podium finish, combined with a race result that fell .21 seconds inside the Olympic A standard, solidified a qualifying spot on the US Olympic team. In that fraction of a second, Kim took a defining step in her career and cemented herself on the American distance running scene.
On the heels of her berth to the London Olympic Games, Kim signed an endorsement contract with New Balance and began the next chapter of her career. The following years included national titles, a world championship final and a second trip to the Olympics in the 5000m in 2016.
Following her appearance at the Rio Olympic Games, Kim made her highly anticipated marathon debut at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, where she finished 16th in 2:41:38-far from the expected result. A long injury cycle hampered much of the next eighteen months, but in 2019 Kim returned to form setting a new Personal Best of 15:05.20 at 5000m as well as earning a bronze medal in the Pan American Games 5000m. Kim looks to build off the success of 2019 as she eagerly anticipates the 2020 Olympic year.
Kim resides in West Sacramento, CA and does the majority of her training on the American River Parkway in Sacramento. She spends several months a year at her altitude base in Flagstaff, AZ where she loves training on the endless network of fire roads and trails. Kim is coached by her husband, Drew Wartenburg and trains with Stephanie Garcia, a fellow New Balance athlete and world championship finalist in the steeplechase. In the coming years Kim is eager to return to the Olympic stage on the track before eventually turning her attention to the roads and mastering the marathon.