Nationally Ranked Triathlete Goes the Distance

Rachel Pearson

Rachel Pearson, an outpatient physical therapist at West Suburban Medical Center, recently placed 8th in her age group in the World Triathlon held in Chicago. Although elite international competition requires serious commitment, Rachel recently took time out just for fun. She ran in a 200-mile relay race from Louisville to Lexington.

Known as the Bourbon Chase, the race traces a path through historic distilleries, horse farms and quaint rural towns. Each team member runs 22 miles to complete three legs of the race. Rachel’s team placed fifth for women out of 390 participating teams, crossing the finish line in just under 27 hours.

“This race was less competitive and a lot of fun,” says Rachel. Her team was the Whiskey Chicks, and their offbeat itinerary included sleeping in a van overnight and enjoying tastings at distilleries along the race route.

On the serious side, Rachel spends long hours running, biking and swimming to remain among the world’s elite. Her goal is to win the amateur world championship as a member of the U.S. women’s triathlon team.
Rachel’s experiences as an athlete inspired her career in physical therapy. As a swimmer in high school, she had a slew of injuries that landed her in the athletic trainer’s office. Over time, Rachel noticed that athletes often didn’t follow the trainers’ advice and were treated repeatedly for the same problems. And she knew it didn’t have to be that way.

As an outpatient physical therapist, Rachel helps people recover from common injuries and teaches them how to prevent new ones. She’s glad that the average person is much less stubborn than athletes about following advice. Seeing her patients make real progress brings great satisfaction.