Christian Faith | Education | Global Impact

Doris Heritage and Lani Taylor: Seattle Pacific runners look to the future

In 1966, Seattle Pacific University graduate Doris Brown Heritage ’64 made running history, setting the women’s world indoor record with a 4:52 mile.

A year later, in 1967, Heritage made history again by competing in the first 2.5-mile international women’s championship — and winning the race by 37 seconds.

Heritage’s training started at SPU under former track and field coach Ken Foreman, who joined the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2009. She went on to become a two-time Olympian, five-time world champion, and SPU faculty member and cross-country coach for more than 30 years.

aerial view of doris running on track field

But for this alumna, the value of her Seattle Pacific education extends far beyond the athletic coaching she received.

When I was running for Seattle Pacific, we all knew we were on the team to be the best runners we could be, but really to be the best people we could be.

“When I was running for Seattle Pacific, we all knew we were on the team to be the best runners we could be, but really to be the best people we could be,” she said. “It’s the same today. Seattle Pacific is a place to explore our passions and then share them with others.”

Today, junior track and field athlete Lani Taylor is forging her own path. The SPU sprinter, who grew up in West Seattle, says her SPU education has helped shape her future through athletics training and other ways.

lani overlooks gasworks park hill view

“As an All-American student athlete, my passion is to run as fast as I can. But to me, there’s much more to Seattle Pacific than just winning times,” she said. “My professors challenge me to dig way deeper than I ever have before, in the classroom and in my Christian faith. They inspire me to ask the tough questions, challenge myself intellectually and spiritually, and make a difference in the real world.”

For both athletes, Seattle Pacific’s focus on Christian faith formation as a foundation for academic excellence and social engagement, in Seattle and beyond, is important.

Here, I’m a part of a diverse community in a city where the future is just a step away.

At SPU, students enjoy small class sizes and tailor-made learning experiences with the chance to research and learn experientially alongside their peers and professors. They also have the chance to engage with the city of Seattle, interning at cutting-edge organizations and serving the city’s needs.

“Here, I’m a part of a diverse community in a city where the future is just a step away,” Taylor said. “Seattle is where I’m learning to grow and lead and serve.”

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