“I feel very fortunate to have started my running career in a community with such rich running history. With so many Northern Virginia legends, it was the perfect environment to dream big.”
-Sean McGorty, =PR= Local Legend
The Local Legend Project
This May, Potomac River Running is excited to partner with Nike’s Bowerman Track Club for the Local Legend Project. The Local Legend Project spotlights athletes and their roots before they were members of the Bowerman Track Club program. Just over ten years ago, Potomac River Running got to witness the start of what would be only the beginning of Sean McGorty’s great career. Potomac River Running is beyond proud to call Sean McGorty our local legend. So, what exactly is a local legend you may ask?!? Well, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific definition or string of words to describe a legend but one thing is for sure, when you see it you just know! Anyone who has had the opportunity to watch Sean run, race, and represent Northern Virginia can probably piece together a definition of what it is to be a local legend. Potomac River Running got to catch up with Sean following his debut in the steeplechase and the launch of the Local Legend Project. Below we share his story and our discussion with Sean.
The Start of Something Great, The Beginnings
In the Summer of 2009, Sean McGorty set out for the Chantilly High School cross country team. As an avid soccer player and son of two accomplished runners he decided to give it a go and the rest is history. Sean quickly rose to the top in pretty much every distances event from the 800m to the 5K. He was also a key member in many relays. During his high school career, he joined the ranks of other Virginia standouts like Alan Webb, Drew Hunter, and many more as one of the legends that would leave Virginia to take running well beyond their high school careers. In his four years at Chantilly High School, Sean destroyed and set a number of school and national records. He was one of the top runners at the high school level and pretty much close to unstoppable in just about anything and everything he raced. As he developed, more and more, local athletes grew to notice this young man who eventually went onto run at Stanford University.
Although Sean was one of the top runners during his high school career his favorite memories didn’t come from big races, huge personal records, or racing at some of the most premier meets in the country, instead it was the time he spent alongside his Charger teammates. Sean stated, “Some of my favorite memories were the everyday training moments while I was at Chantilly High School. My entire time on the team, I was lucky to be surrounded by fantastic people. From early morning summer practices to long bus rides, my teammates filled every moment with laughter. It made the hard work easier, and the simplest moments some of the most memorable.” Like many high school athletes, some of the best moments are time spent with the team doing the small things. Sean who is now a member of Nike’s Bowerman Track Club can look back on these days as just the beginning of something great.
The Man, The Myth, The Local Legend
Just ask any high school track or cross country athlete from Northern Virginia that graduated sometime around 2009- 2013 if they know who Sean McGorty is and the answer will most likely be YES! It was hard not to notice Sean, when he raced it felt like you were watching greatness. Of course, growing up in Northern Virginia, we are home to many accomplished runners that have taken to the big stage and set the bar high, Sean of course being one of those very runners. Potomac River Running is proud to have played a small role in Sean’s very BIG and well-accomplished running career thus far. Once a standout high school athlete from Chantilly High School, Sean is now one of the top contenders in the steeplechase for the upcoming Olympic Trials.
Sean McGorty is not just a local legend but a role model for athletes in the area. We asked Sean what it means to be called a “local legend” and here’s what he had to say: “To me, being called a ‘local legend’ carries a special meaning and responsibility. It is incredibly meaningful to be recognized by your hometown. Being viewed as a role model in the community that built you into the person you are today is an honor. In this light, I hope that my actions on and off the track can inspire others to break down barriers and not set limits on their potential. After all, there’s no greater accomplishment than having a positive impact on others.” Not only is Sean a role model he has all of us back home dreaming big, wondering what barriers we can break.
We also asked Sean to share a memory/experience or a time he raced or shopped at his local Potomac River Running store. Here’s what he had to say: “=PR= was involved in so many of my favorite races from high school. Oatlands Invite was always a meet I would put a lot of focus on during the cross country season. With such a tough course, it was an important test of fitness early on in the season. Another meet that holds a special place in my heart is Glory Days XC Invite. Glory Days served as our home meet while I was at Chantilly and was always a meaningful meet for our team. The meet also provided some sweet =PR= backpacks that my family would constantly use! One last =PR= memory that was away from the track/cross country course, was when =PR= Reston held a book night for Like Father Like Son. It was great hearing Matthew Centrowitz Sr. talk about his book. Plus, it was the first time I met my now teammate Centro!”
Legends to a Legend
All legends have legends and Sean McGorty is no different. We may refer to him as our local legend but he too has a list of role models and individuals that left an impact on him. When speaking with Sean he noted that he has been fortunate to have many different role models, but his current role models are his teammates. Sean says, “I’m blessed that my Bowerman Track Club teammates are also my role models. I still remember watching Evan Jager, Moh Ahmed, and Matthew Centrowitz compete at the 2016 Olympic Games. From my family room couch, I watched them compete at the highest level, accomplishing some of the same goals I have for myself now. I think all three of them are legends, and it has been such a privilege to train and learn alongside them as they continue to write their legacies.” His most recent race role model and teammate Evan Jager helped pace him through the first 2K of his steeplechase race and played a fundamental role in his development and guidance in the new event.
Running for the Nike Bowerman Track Club
Sean McGorty is currently a member of the Nike Bowerman Track Club. We ask him what it means to a part of the BTC: “Being part of the Bowerman Track Club is a dream come true. When I first got into running I looked up to Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp. Once I was in college, Evan Jager and Ryan Hill were part of the new wave of BTC whose footsteps I aspired to follow. To be given the opportunity to train with one of the best coaches in the world and train with amazing athletes is a blessing and I wouldn’t want to be in any other situation. I’m living my childhood dream.”
A Look at What’s Ahead
Just weeks off of his 1st place finish and debut in the 3000m steeplechase with a speedy time of 8:20.77, you might be asking so what’s next?!? Well of course the obvious answer is what we all can only hope for, a trip to Toyko this summer! Sean is currently in Park City, Utah for altitude camp training. After that, his next stop will be the oh so anticipated Olympic Trials where he is one of the favored athletes in the steeplechase. Sean plans to race one last time before the trials so be sure to stay alert so that you can watch him race again before the trials. For now though Sean has one big goal in mind: “Hopefully, I’ll be racing at the Olympics in Tokyo in July. For now, the focus is just being at my best when I toe the line at the Olympic Trials in June!” As Sean prepares to toe the line, one thing is for sure, he will hear a roar coming from the East Coast as his family, friends, teammates, and the Northern Virginia running community cheer him on.
Fast as Lightning Gear
Nike never disappoints when it comes to the right colors, flashy designs, and always on-trend gear, this year’s Bowerman Track Club singlet is no different. It is bright white with a pop of red bolts that will have you feeling faster than lightning when you slip on the extra lightweight, breathable singlet. We asked Sean about his thoughts on the new Nike AeroSwift Bowerman Track Club singlet and here’s what he had to say, “I’m a huge fan of our new racing singlet! The singlet fits perfectly, and I love the design. Every year Nike does a great job designing our uniforms and this year’s uniform is one of my favorites. The white base with red lightning bolts really pops, especially when you pair it with red shorts or half-tights. I’m looking forward to racing in it this season!”
You too can race, train, run, or represent the Bowerman Track Club and some of the top athletes in the new singlet. In addition, check out the crewneck collaboration that features =PR= on the wrist and the Bowerman Track Club on the front, it’s the perfect go-to crew for an easy day or when you are just out and about. Shop the full collection online or in Sean’s favorite =PR= location, Potomac River Running Fairfax, located in the Fairfax Corner Shopping Center.
Shop the Local Legend Collection. Available online and in =PR= Fairfax.
Want more McGorty?
Potomac River Running got the chance last Fall to interview Sean on the =PR= Live Show. Check out the full episode with Sean on our Instagram account, @potomacriverrunning, and learn how to play the falling leaves game on your next run!