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We love to hear about the stories of athletes who always wanted to be Olympians since they were young but what about athletes who took a more circuitous route to success in the sport? If you told Heather MacLean in high school that she would be running professionally and ranked in the top 40 in the world she would have looked at you with three heads.
Heather started running track at Peabody because her friend who drove her after school ride to work at a local grocery store was also doing track. The first in her family to graduate from college from UMass Amherst, Heather’s story is one of resilience, drive, and grit.
As an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee and cross country All-American, Heather’s collegiate success fell mostly under the radar of the general public. In 2019, Heather had a breakthrough year training in Boston under Mark Coogan with Team New Balance Boston and ran a massive PR in the 1500m of 4:05 and placing 7th at USAs. In a single season, Heather dropped 9 seconds from her personal best in the 1500m.
Currently living and training in Boston, Heather has big plans for the upcoming Olympic year. Her story can teach us all about what it means to fight for yourself and how anyone can make an impact on another’s life.