For Elise Cranny, Niwot High School’s homecoming parade was just that, a true homecoming.
Cranny, who graduated from Niwot in 2014, placed 13th in the 5,000 meter race at the Tokyo Olympics this year. The experience was remarkable, she said, both to get into the Olympic finals and compete with the best in the world.
“I definitely left (Tokyo) hungry for more,” Cranny said.
Cranny felt it was an invaluable learning experience, learning from her peers from around the world and how to push herself to the next level of her own running.
“I’m very grateful for that experience and I walked away with a lot of valuable knowledge,” Cranny said.
Cranny said that representing both Niwot and Stanford University was incredibly important for her, considering that COVID restrictions kept fans out of the Olympic stadium during the competition. The support went both ways, as Cranny received videos and messages from former Niwot runners. Knowing that there were watch parties back home with community and family supporting her helped keep her motivated in the race, she said.
“The outpouring of support was incredible, and being able to feel that energy even in an empty stadium helped me get to the final line,” Cranny said. “I’ll cherish that forever.”
Cranny said it was a little unreal coming home after the Olympics, because even though she graduated from Niwot seven year prior, it still felt like she’d run those tracks yesterday. Attaining a goal she’d wanted for so long and sharing it with the community that helped her get there was momentous for the distance runner.
Cranny studied biology at Stanford, and is an advocate for Voice in Sport, an organization dedicated to supporting women in athletics throughout the U.S. Cranny also works to spread awareness of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, a condition that causes female athletes to lose their menstrual cycles. Advocating and mentoring young athletes helps her stay grounded and focused, Cranny said.
Cranny wants to keep pursuing running for the near future, pushing herself further and further and return to the Olympics.