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Going All In: Macklin Chaffee Chased the Dream after 2x Runner Up in D3


“I came in 32nd overall based on time and I sat there afterwards and thought, ‘if I was the 32nd best quarterback in the U.S., I’d be doing pretty well. I think I need to pursue this as there’s only 31 other people that are better than me at 1500m running in the United States. I’m all in.

Macklin Chaffee’s running journey is centered around the question, “what if.”

In high school, his coach put him in three events to see what he would do well in: high jump, hurdles, and the 1600m. After a fast last lap to propel Chaffee to a 4:45 in his first 1600m race, it was clear Chaffee was a miler.

Chaffee’s motivation levels ebbed and flowed while he was at Williams College. To put it bluntly, he didn’t enjoy running which led to sub par training heading into three of his four cross country seasons. On top of the lack of training, he had interest in the ultimate frisbee club that left him wondering if pursuing that would make for a better college experience.

However, his sophomore year track season gave him the motivation he needed and began the “what if” theme of his career. After having to step into the DMR as an alternate and getting into the mile after a medical scratch, Chaffee saw first hand what it’s like to be at the top of Division 3. However, a stint of mono that outdoor season left him dreaming for the next season.

That next track season he began to see more success by lowering his PB and finishing runner up in the 1500m. That second place finish gave him the motivation he needed to train over the season to help Williams during cross country. Despite an injury, he was able to muster up a 38th place finish to help Williams finish third on the podium.

His eyes were set on winning a national title during track but came up 0.09 seconds short. His coached convinced him to do a few races after the season which ended in him finished 32nd at the USA Outdoor National Champs. From there, he wanted to see how far he could take running.

While his ultimate goal of making the Olympics fell short, Macklin’s story is one of resiliency and of what you can do if you go all in. His professional career was filled with ups and down but he can say he is a 3:56 miler.

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