HR Pod: Leah O’Connor, Professional Runner and Former Michigan State Standout

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Photo by James Rogers

Leah O’Connor.


Host James Rogers sits down with professional runner and former Michigan State standout Leah O’Connor for an expansive conversation. Now based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the 27-year-old discusses her hometown roots, decorated MSU career and pro running roller-coaster ride. Topics also include mental health, faith, writing, farm life, support systems and Harper (her dog).

At MSU, Leah captured multiple Big Ten titles—cross country, indoor track, outdoor track—and won a national title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (June 2014) and indoor mile (March 2015). She was a member of the undefeated 2014 MSU women’s cross-country team coached by Walt Drenth that won the national title in dominating fashion.

Leah’s 9:18.85 personal record in the 3K steeplechase set in May 2016 makes her the fifth-fastest American ever in the women’s steeple. Now sponsored by HOKA and coached by Dathan Ritzenhein, Leah is a member of the Gazelle Elite Racing Team.

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Author: James Rogers

James founded Hooray Run in 2014. He hosts the project's podcast, Hooray Run Podcast, which began in April 2017 and streams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Overcast. Celebrate every step!

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