UMass Alum, Peabody Native Heather MacLean Qualifies For Tokyo Olympics

'I never thought I'd be here today and here I am'


June 21, 2021

Heather MacLean just earned herself a trip to Tokyo.

The Peabody native and University of Massachusetts alumna qualified for the summer Olympics with a third-place finish in the 1500 meter final Monday at the Team USA olympic trials in Eugene, Oreg.

“I’m in awe. I’m so honored,” MacLean said on NBC’s coverage of the qualifiers, via The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt.

“It’s amazing. I never thought I’d be here today and here I am. It’s surreal, really.”

MacLean certainly was an underdog entering the race. She finished one spot out of the 12-runner final Saturday in semifinals, but reviews of the race revealed she’d been interfered with twice and won the protest that granted her a lane in the final.

With a time of 4:02.09, she took full advantage.

MacLean was the first All-American in UMass Women’s Cross Country history, and broke the school’s all-time record in the 1500 as a junior in 2016-17.

A New Balance Boston athlete, MacLean qualified with her training partner, Elle Purrier, who won her first U.S. title with a victory in the 1500. It looks like the two have quite the celebration planned.

According to the running account Fast Women on Twitter, Purrier told reporters she and MacLean want to get matching tattoos. We’ll see how they come out when the Olympic Games begin in July in Japan.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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