One never knows who might be greeting them at the door, or serving them a drink, at The Anchor in the Charlestown Navy Yard, and for those who have been loyal customers since the beginning of the venue three years ago – they were most likely served by an Olympian.
Heather MacLean was a guest of honor on Wednesday night, Aug. 11, at The Anchor’s Summer Bash, shortly after she had returned from Tokyo as a member of the USA Olympic Track Team – running the 1500 meter race (One Mile) for Team USA.
“I just returned from Tokyo on Aug. 9 and I got to be a part of the closing ceremonies on Aug. 8, which was a lot of fun,” she said. “Being a part of this sport is an honor and joyful to me. It’s my first time ever being on the world stage. It was such a privilege to represent my country and run for my country in front of the world. It felt so surreal to wear the USA emblem on my chest. It was one of the best times of my life. Not many people make it to that stage, so it was an honor.”
The Anchor owner Chris Sinclair said he was so excited to welcome MacLean back to the Anchor after she had worked so hard to get to the Olympics, and performed well there too. He said that MacLean helped him to launch The Anchor when it first opened, and came back last year for an official community talk about women in sport and her aspirations of going to the Olympics.
“She was a key part to opening the Anchor and got to know everyone here well, and we couldn’t have gotten it off the ground without her,” he said. “We hope to have events like we did last summer with her because it gives people a chance to tell phenomenal stories like this.”
MacLean said she enjoyed working at The Anchor, and had worked for Sinclair’s company selling ice cream in Boston for some years before that.
In Tokyo, she was one of three women that made the team for the 1500 at the ultra-competitive Olympic Trials in Oregon earlier this summer. Finishing in the top three there, she punched her ticket to Tokyo. There, her first time on the world stage, she ran great times and made it to the semi-finals. However, her times were not low enough to get her to the finals of the race.
Still, it put her into the top tier of the most elite female one-mile runners in the world.
“It was my first go-around and I got a lot of experience,” she said. “It will help me to move forward. I’m young for the sport and being a semi-finalist in the Olympics is a huge achievement for me at this point. It will really help me to focus on my goals for running and what I want to achieve in the sport.”
MacLean said she didn’t always pursue running, but got into it at the end of high school. Then, at UMass-Amherst, she began to improve exponentially. She competed in college and then travelled to Oregon this year for the Trials – and did well enough to get to Tokyo.
MacLean said she has a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration.
And her favorite spot to hang out in Charlestown? Clearly, the Anchor