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.

If you prefer to listen via SoundCloud:


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HR Pod: Running in Circles Again with Cousin Mike

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Photo by James Rogers

Cousin Mike and his dog, River.


Cousin Mike makes his third appearance on Hooray Run Podcast. Host James Rogers goes all over the running map with Mike in the first portion of this episode, then the cousins talk music, time, nostalgia, Grand Rapids—many non-running topics but thoughtful conversation nonetheless. Mike also gets James to consider registering for a half-marathon in the fall.

If you prefer to listen via SoundCloud:


Hooray Run Podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Overcast, many more platforms. Tell a friend, recommend, leave a review, SUBSCRIBE—thanks for listening!

Sam Hartman Running Half Marathon for Sister and 2 Nieces

Sophie and her two girls, Miah and Carmel.
Sophie and her two girls, Miah and Carmel.

This Sunday, Sam Hartman is running the Foster Swift Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sam is running 13.1 miles for her sister, Sophie, who is trying to finalize the adoption of two girls—biological siblings and Sam’s nieces—in Zambia.

The adoption system is extremely corrupt in Zambia, and Sophie has been in this process for four years now, struggling in areas to continue on. Finances are the last thing Sophie wants to think about, but they are necessary for the continued fight of long-suffering.

Sam is taking pledges for each mile she runs on Sunday, and every dollar goes toward the adoptions. If you feel inclined and are able, help the Hartman family in this journey.

Check out the following links—even if you don’t know Sam. Fill a row in the spreadsheet to help support Sam and her half marathon, donate to the Sophie Hartman Adoption Fund and/or show some love at Sam’s half marathon Facebook page!

Spreadsheet—pledge a dollar amount per mile

Sophie Hartman Adoption Fund

Sam’s FB page

Help the Hartman family out, and keep spreading the running love!