• 1,500 meters - 3:59.38 (#5 performer all-time U.S.)
• 3000m Steeplechase - 9:22.76 (#6 performer all-time U.S.)
• 800 meters - 1:58.80
• 1st 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials - 3000m Steeplechase
• 10th 2008 Olympic Games - 3000m Steeplechase
• 6th 2009 World Championships - 1500 meters
• 4th 2010 U.S. Championships - 800 meters
• 1st 2010 U.S. Championship - 1500 meters
• 2007 NCAA Championship - 3000m Steeplechase
Telstar High School '02 (Bethel, Maine)
• 3x Maine State Champion - 800/1600/XC
• High School Personal Bests: 2:23 (800), 5:11 (1600), 11:59 (3200)
Many campers that have come to Aim High have run as fast if not faster than Anna Willard did in high school. So if you have run 2:23 for 800 meters, or about that time, she probably wouldn’t be the person to tell you to rule out your Olympic dream. From her start in running to becoming one of the fastest middle distance runners in U.S. history….she’ll be at Aim High to tell her story.
In 6th grade her middle school only offered two spring sports – track and softball. She didn’t like softball so the decision was an easy one. She started out primarily as a long/triple jumper and a 100-meter hurdler. As she progressed in grade she moved up in distance until she could run XC in 9th grade. She never ran more than 20 miles per week. And are you ready for this? She always took two days off before every race to make sure she was rested. She left Telstar High School in Bethel, Maine with three state championships that all came in her senior year – cross country, 800 and 1600 meters. Her personal bests were 2:23 (800), 5:11 (1600) and 11:59 (3200).
One should mention that Anna loves basketball and played all four years on her high school team. However, at 5’-4” Anna knew basketball wasn’t in the cards when it came to choosing a college. So when it came time to look for one Anna says, “I wanted a good school with an OK track program.” She didn’t get the response she wanted from some of her top choices. In fact, one of the country’s premier programs basically said to her, “If you can’t run 4:50 or better for 1600 meters then we really don’t have a lot to talk to you about.” It shouldn’t be surprising that Anna, who graduated third in her class at Telstar, chose Brown to continue her education and running. In addition to a great education, at Brown she was far enough from home but close enough to visit on weekends if she chose.
Her running progressed fine but it was the arrival of a new coach as an upperclassman that really sparked her desire to be great. She graduated in ‘06 with a degree in environmental studies, as HEP’s champion in the steeplechase, with 10 school records, and a burning desire to be a great runner.
Enter the University of Michigan. This is where Anna went to get her master’s degree in sports medicine. Due to injury while at Brown, she still had collegiate eligibility. She went from being a good runner to a national star. She improved her steeplechase best over 30 second to 9:34 and won the 2007 NCAA championships in the event. Her exploits at the 2007 Penn Relays, where the Wolverines set collegiate records in the 4x800 and 4x1500, earned her track athlete of the meet.
The following year, at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, Anna lit up the national scene winning the steeplechase in a then U.S. record 9:27.56 and a spot on the Olympic team. The following month, in Belgium, she lowered her personal best to 9:22.76. She placed 10th at the Olympic Games. In 2009 she was undefeated at 800 meters. She ran a personal best 1:58.80 in Paris then five weeks later in Zurich she became the 5th fastest U.S. performer all-time in the 1500 running 3:59.38. She placed 6th at the World Championships in the 1500. In 2010 she was 4th at the World Indoor Championships in the 800 and the U.S. Outdoor Champion in the 1500.
Anna resides in Boston, MA with her husband Bob Grenier. They own CrossFit Merrimack where Anna coaches athletes in running and other disciplines. Anna returned to competitive running in 2015 and is sponsored by Oiselle. In 2016 she has already run 2:04.18 for 800 meters. She trains regularly with 2015 Aim High special guest Morgan Uceny and under the watchful eye of long-time coach Terrence Mahon.
Contact: Jennifer & David Patruno
David at work: 315-472-0744
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