Prep of the Year: Audrey MacLean

Grace Gehrman

“I honestly cannot imagine life without running,” senior Audrey MacLean, four-year track and cross country (XC) runner, said. 

Jogging with Kai Peters, Audrey MacLean smiles on the trail.

Audrey began running when she was in sixth grade, inspired by her two parents who are avid runners themselves. She started running casually throughout middle school and, once she became a freshman, competed in both track and field and XC for the past four years. Her hard work and devotion has culminated in her commitment to Middlebury College for running. Audrey is thrilled for her next chapter at Middlebury and anticipates she will always incorporate running into her life. For Audrey, an important aspect of the sport is how it helps her alleviate excess stress.

“[Running is] a way to get away from all of the other stressors in life. I always feel, no matter what the condition is, better after going for a run. The runner’s high is definitely a thing, especially after workouts,” Audrey said. 

Moreover, Audrey is grateful for the friends and sense of community running has provided her with. She claims that running has given her many meaningful experiences and connections. 

“I’ve always just really liked running. It’s been my outlet, and it was a really good way for me to make friends. A bunch of the people that I met on the [XC and track and field] team are still my best friends,” Audrey said.

Erin Stolte, Audrey MacLean, Marley Nakko and Isabelle Davis (left to right) pose on the beach after a successful meet.

Lulu Baker and Audrey met at the beginning of freshman year while running XC together. Since then, they have remained close friends and have run together for the past four years. In this time, Baker has observed Audrey’s incredible love for the sport.

“Audrey is so fun to be around. Her love for running is so infectious, [it makes] you want to run more. And she gets so excited about it, so she’s such a positive teammate to have,” Baker said. 

“Audrey is so fun to be around. Her love for running is so infectious, [it makes] you want to run more. And she gets so excited about it, so she’s such a positive teammate to have,”

— Lulu Baker

Additionally, Baker vouches for her friend’s commitment and upbeat attitude.

“She is humble and she puts her head down while working hard, but does it while having so much fun. She never looks negative. It just always looks like she’s having this positive experience because she loves [running] and she’s really good at it at the same time. It’s just amazing to watch,” Baker said.

Similarly to Baker, Isla MacLean, Audrey’s younger sister, also cites Audrey as a source of inspiration for her. As a current freshman and competitive runner, Isla began running after watching her sister compete in track and field and XC events. After observing her sister’s vast improvement and skill throughout the past years, Isla notes the intense commitment to running and impressive work ethic she sees. 

“Audrey has the grit and determination of no one else that I know. When she puts her mind to something, she will not give up on it. She’s just so determined, especially when it comes to running, and she’s just gonna push herself really, really hard,” Isla said.

In terms of her training schedule, Audrey reports that she runs nearly every day, gravitating more towards morning runs. Her ‘easy day’ runs range from four to seven miles, and her longer runs can span up to fifteen miles. 

“I’m definitely a morning-run person because I like just getting out in the morning and [it is] a good start because it always makes me feel good for the rest of the day. I run year round and I pretty much always run on vacation if it’s possible. All you need is a pair of running shoes and a place to run, so it’s definitely really versatile,” Audrey said. “As far as I can see, I think that I’m going to be running for the rest of my life, or at least until I can’t, because it’s become such a keystone part of my life.”