At 81 years old, Doris Heritage boasts an impressive and world-class career as both an athlete and a coach, and it all started right here in Pierce County.

Growing up on Fox Island, Doris always loved to run. Her parents owned a chrysanthemum farm where she spent her days as a seven-year-old running the steep hills of the property and the sandy beaches near her house.

As a student at Peninsula High School, Doris dreamed of training on the cross-country team but was only ever allowed to watch a single practice since girls weren’t allowed to compete or even practice at the time.

Despite the challenges that Doris faced as a runner due to gender discrimination during the 1950s, she preserved against the odds and became a world-class runner winning multiple world titles and even becoming the first woman to run a sub five-minute mile indoors in history.

When we asked Doris about what motivated her to compete, her passion for running was evident, but there was also a clear undercurrent of community and teamwork that helped Doris make the most of her career. Doris recalled the support of one of her neighbors who helped her train and even bought her first pair of track shoes according to a Gig Harbor news article.

When she attended college at Seattle Pacific University, Doris once again found herself unable to find a woman’s team to compete on. But thanks to a forward-thinking and legendary coach, Ken Foreman, she was challenged by running alongside the SPU men’s team.

Doris would go on to compete and set records around the world in events like the 800-meter race, 3,000-meter race, 2-mile run, and even becoming the runner-up in the New York City Marathon in 2009. All of which, she never earned a dime for.

Doris soon became a coach for other world-class runners like herself taking on an impressive and staggering 30 seasons as head coach at Seattle Pacific University. “Anything is possible with a good team, if everybody does their part,” Doris said.  “Especially if you enjoy doing your part together.”

Doris’s dedication to teamwork is truly what we are all about here at Kitsap Credit Union. We know that much like Doris shows, if we work together, with a bit of coaching and dedication, your goals are within reach. Together it’s possible.

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