CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Running was always in the back of Rachael Brewer’s mind.
“The talent was there, just the drive went away,” she said.
When it returned, it came back with a vengeance. Having ran cross country and track as an underclassman at Tuscola, Brewer decided to try to walk on to the cross country team at Illinois State.
“I reached out to the college coach and he was like, ‘You’re running like a 24-minute 5K, so we can’t really let you on the team.'”
What could have been the end of it, was just the start. Brewer spent her entire sophomore year training, finally lowering her time enough to earn a spot on the Redbirds team two weeks before the start of the season.
“I remember I had no idea what a fartlek was and I had to reach out to the coach that coached me in junior high, and then we had to reach out to the coach that used to be the coach at Monticello.”
Brewer eventually figured things out, running in the five spot for the Redbirds who won the conference title that season. But after graduation, she wasn’t ready to hang up her shoes. For the next five years, Brewer continued to train with hopes of running her first marathon. Last year, at 27 years old, she won the Illinois Marathon in her first attempt at 26.2 miles.
“It was more just trying to go out and get the experience of running your first marathon,” she said.
Now, as Brewer prepares to run in the Illinois Marathon again, she’s set yet another goal for herself.
“I would love to be able to run the Olympic Trial standard which is 2:45 or faster.”
If she does, she’ll have a chance to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2020. A lofty dream, but not impossible for Brewer, who always manages to accomplish what she wants to.
“Every time I usually do just fine,” she said. “I just have to learn to trust myself I think a little bit more.”