Senior Lindsay MacLellan sprints through the finish line after racing in the Women's Gold race at the Paul Short Run on Sept. 30, at Goodman Campus. Last week, MacLellan was named Patriot League Runner of the Week. (Yusef Kenneh/B&W staff)

Cross country senior reflects on running journey


Lindsay MacLellan began her running career jumping over Rubbermaid bins in her backyard with her sisters. 

“It was one of the first things that my sisters and I bonded over, just being a little kid and running around all the time,” MacLellan said. “I thought it was so freeing and so fun.”

As MacLellan grew up, she moved on from Rubbermaid bins to hurdles.

Now a senior on the Lehigh women’s cross country team, she secured her first race victory on Sept. 16 in the ​​Lehigh vs. Lafayette dual meet’s 6K race with a time of 21:56.10.

At first, MacLellan’s passion for running was casual and fun.

“I was that sassy little kid who would tell all the boys that I could jump over the highest hurdles even though I was like four feet tall,” MacLellan said.

Because her mother was the high school hurdles coach, MacLellan would accompany her mom to their practices when she was younger.

Since she was already familiar with the school’s running program and coaches through her mom’s position, as she got older, the transition to competitive running was seamless. 

“By the time I hit sixth grade, it was pretty much a given that I was going to run, so I started running cross country and track,” MacLellan said. “I was fortunate enough to have programs for running in middle school, and throughout my town, so I started then and haven’t really stopped since.”

Both of MacLellan’s parents were college athletes — her father played soccer and her mother ran, so she said running was a family sport and something in their blood.

“My family is really important to me and they’ve always been super supportive of everything,” MacLellan said. “So making them proud and doing things that they’ll wanna celebrate is really awesome.” 

MacLellan said that while family is what introduced her to running, the people she met through the sport are what kept her there. 

She said she and her teammates have grown incredibly close over the years. They spend time outside of practice together at least a few times a week with pasta parties and other activities.

“Everybody’s so close-knit and that’s probably one of my favorite things about it,” MacLellan said. “Besides the actual running aspect, it is one of the biggest things that keeps me going. I think if I didn’t have my team it’d be really hard to be as passionate as I am and to do as many cool things as we as a team are doing.”

MacLellan said she and her teammates have grown incredibly close over the years.

Abigail Tenreiro, a fellow senior on the cross country team said MacLellan is a great teammate and friend to have. 

Off the field, she said MacLellan is the type of person who she knows she’d be friends with even if they weren’t on the team together.

Tenreiro said MacLellan has been a leader and role model for the other members of the team since her first year. 

“We used to call her the team mom,” Tenreiro said. “Anything you needed, she had, and if you ever needed someone to talk to, she was always there to give you advice.”

While MacLellan has continued to run both track and cross country, she said her favorite event is the steeplechase: a combination of both. 

The steeplechase is derived from horse racing and is a 3K race that contains five hurdles and a water element. MacLellan competes in the steeplechase for Lehigh every spring.

Following her recent victory against Lafayette, MacLellan was named as the women’s cross-country Patriot League Runner of the Week. 

“I think she’s finally experiencing the performance results that back up the work ethic that she’s always had,” Coach Debbie Utesch said.

The Mountain Hawks defeated the Leopards 18-43 on Sept. 16 at the 6K race, making this their 18th-consecutive victory against their rivals. 

“The rivalry runs deep, that’s the meet that we just get so excited for,” Tenreiro said. “So to not only win the meet as a team but to have (MacLellan) go No. 1, that was just a huge victory for all of us.”

MacLellan passed the race leader in the waning moments of the race to take first place and secure a Mountain Hawk win. 

“At 600 meters, maybe a little bit more, I kind of realized that I could catch her,” MacLellan said. “And I just kind of started to go for it. And that was kind of the turning point.” 

MacLellan said no one on her team even realized she had won the race until much later. 

While the recent victory was one of the biggest accomplishments of MacLellan’s running career, she said her favorite moment from her time at Lehigh was the Patriot League Championship of her junior year, in which she finished 41st, helping Lehigh to take home fourth place overall. 

MacLellan suffered from several injuries throughout her first and sophomore year so being able to contribute to the team’s success her junior year meant more. 

“When I crossed the finish line, I just started crying happy tears,” MacLellan said. “I couldn’t believe what I had done and how much I had grown. I was just really proud of that.”

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