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Elise Cranny On How She Went From Injured To 14:48 for No. 7 U.S. All-Time for 5,000m

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“I was very naive going into college. I was like, ‘Junior year, I ran 4:15 and the next year I ran 4:10. You just have exponential growth. You just keep getting faster. I don’t understand how these people go to college and they don’t PR.’ I had such a naive view until I was in it. There’s a lot of progress that you can make that’s outside of just PRs. Looking back, I PR’ed by half a second in the 1,500 but I feel like the skills that I learned and the strength that I gained from trying to avoid injury, preventing it or coming back can’t tangibly be measured but the more that I’ve reflected, that’s what I try to focus on. There’s so much more to a person’s story than just the PRs. It’s what other gains or growth are you making.”


On July 1, Elise Cranny ran 14:48.02 to become the 7th fastest American woman in history for the 5,000 meters. The race was run in Portland, Oregon in front of no fans and just against her teammates. The time counts toward the all-time lists because USATF recently announced they will be counting times and marks set at USATF sanctioned events from April to November toward next year’s U.S. Indoor Championships and Olympic Trials. This is arguably her biggest performance as a pro but was also very accomplished as a high school star out of Niwot High School in Colorado and then a 12-time All-American at Stanford.

In this episode, we run through her start in sport with influence from her parents who were avid triathletes. We touch on the pressure of being a high school star and a patient transition into college training and development. Elise takes us through some of the biggest races of her college career including her runner up finish at the 2017 NCAA outdoor championships 1500 where she was .004 seconds off the win. Then she gives us the behind-the-scenes of being injured at the start of the year, her recovery process and then how that 14:48 came together. Plus, she’d one of the young and rising stars benefitting from the Olympics getting postponed.

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