Are Olympians Just Like Us? Get to Know Cory McGee and Heather MacLean

Heather MacLean and Cory McGee run.

Olympians are often thought of as lean, muscled, Greek-God-esque characters that us ordinary folks get to watch through our TV screens every four years, accomplishing incredible feats that seem to go against the laws of nature. But when Olympians aren’t backflipping off of balance beams, heading soccer balls into the back of the net or running down the track at the speed of light, what exactly are they doing? We caught up with 2020 Olympians Cory McGee and Heather MacLean, who represented the U.S. in the 1500-meter race, to learn about their favorite running rituals, snacks, shoes and more.

Cory McGee grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi and now trains in Boulder, Colorado with Team Boss. Growing up in a big family, she used running as her precious alone time to escape from her siblings. Just like the rest of us, running was a hobby that McGee slowly became more and more serious about. She went on to the University of Florida to compete for the Gators’ cross-country and track programs where she was a ten-time All-American.

Although she trains in Colorado, her favorite place to run is near the beach (thanks to her Gulf-front upbringing.) She loves training in the New Balance Rebel, a lightweight, energetic trainer that seems to match her peppy demeanor. McGee’s favorite race is the U.S. Championships – look out for her at the 2023 edition as she fights for a position to represent the U.S. at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest.

Heather MacLean grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts and trains in Boston, Massachusetts with New Balance Boston. MacLean is a New Englander through-and-through – when she’s not training along the Charles River you can find her at a Red Sox game sipping Dunkin’ iced coffee.

Heather surprised track and field geeks by kicking to a third place finish at the 2020 Olympic Trials, earning her a ticket to Tokyo to compete in her first Olympic games. After a successful Olympics, she became a national champion while winning the 1500-meter race at the USATF Indoor National Championships. This victory earned her a spot in Belgrade for the 2022 World Indoor Championships, where she finished 7th.

MacLean’s favorite shoe to run in is the New Balance 880, a soft, flexible trainer that can handle just about any run. Although the 1500-meter race is her specialty, she says the 800-meter run is actually her favorite distance because “there’s not much time to think, you kind of just go.” Keep your eye out for MacLean on the world stage in future 1500-meter races…or maybe the 800!

So next time you see your favorite Olympians accomplishing incredible feats, remember that, despite the medals, accolades and awards, they too get annoyed by their siblings and (sometimes) indulge in a little too much coffee. Yes, they’re just like us!

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