Olympian Rachel Smith On Using Running To Heal + The Joy Of Watching, Supporting Friends As They Succeed

“Running has been super therapeutic for me these last couple of months. I’ve really taken time to heal and prioritize healing…When my own personal running isn’t going well. I get so much joy out of watching my friends crushing it.”

Rachel Smith (née Schneider) is one of the nicest people in track and field. Last summer, she fulfilled one of her biggest dreams when she crossed the finish line in third place in the U.S. Olympic Trials 5000m finals and qualified for the Tokyo Games. She just missed out on making it into the final when she ran 15:00 in the first round of the Olympics. We got the chance to catch up a few weeks ago when we were both in Washington, DC for the Team USA athlete summit ahead of their White House visit. It’s been a very hard year for Rachel. Earlier this year, she had a bout with COVID in January. In February, she shared that she learned she had skin cancer and underwent surgery to treat it. In April, she opened up on Instagram about having a miscarriage. It’s very sad to hear and we briefly touch on it. Through it all, Rachel still has turned to running and the sport as a way to heal. She’s at practice and helping her husband Mike coach the NAU team and the small professional squad that includes Elly Henes, Nikki Hiltz and Luis Grijalva. When she is ready to return to racing, she is certainly someone to root for.

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Photo by Justin Britton/@justinbritton


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Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.