From Fast-Food Junkie To The Olympic Trials

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 26, 2011

She hadn’t run a marathon in over a decade.

Rachel Jaten will be toeing the line in Houston next month with Olympic dreams in her heart. Photo: Houston 2012

For most runners, junk food does not equal Olympic potential, but for Rachel Jaten of Spokane, Washington, this axiom may not necessarily be true.

Jaten will be heading to Houston next month to take part in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She is one of the fastest women marathoners in the United States and, surprisingly had been consuming fast food five days a week over a year ago. In fact, she hadn’t even run a marathon in over a decade before she began taking up marathons again six months ago.

Some are calling her the “miracle marathoner”.

“I was exhausted and elated,” Jaten said of her qualifying race, the California International Marathon earlier this month.  “It was an unbelievable feeling and a dream come true. It was something I’ve thought about since I was a kid.”

Jaten admits she ran in college, but got burned out, taking over a decade off of running. She currently works for the United Parcel Service (UPS).

“Instead of seeing my physical job as something that goes against my training, I started seeing it as something that is helping me become stronger,” she said.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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