Racheal Marchand knows she has a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and the former Valparaiso High School and University of Iowa All-American runner has decided to become a professional runner with the hopes of becoming an Olympian.
Marchand recently resigned her position as a pharmaceutical representative for DAIICHI SANKYO as she will train in Iowa City, Iowa, with the chance to run for Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics in London.
"There is a small window of opportunity to pursue my dreams or I could have this amazing career," Marchand said. "I know I can't do both and Puerto Rico wants to support me, and this is too great of an opportunity to pass up."
Marchand, who was named Iowa's female athlete of the year in 2009, said she already has started making the transition by stepping up her training. She leaves Wednesday to compete in the Puerto Rico National meet, one of several events in which she will compete.
"I am getting ready for the Central American Games in Mayaguez (P.R.) and it is hard getting fit again," she said. "There's eating well, going for double runs, but it's worth it."
Marchand can compete for Puerto Rico because her father, Dr. Hector Marchand, is from there. She is not the only American athlete to compete for a different team. Several have, including former Merrillville softball star Leslie Malerich, who played for the Italian national team.
"My dad's family in Puerto Rico, they are excited about it and this is really a blessing in disguise," Marchand said. "Now I can give back to my roots."
Marchand said she enjoyed being a pharmaceutical rep and talking with doctors on a daily basis.
"It's great to go in there and informing doctors about certain medications which can help someone," Marchand said. "I wanted to be in the medical profession, but I did not want to be a doctor. That career was great."
At Valparaiso, Marchand was an All-American, placing 10th at the Footlocker National Cross Country Meet her senior year (2004-05). She also earned Duneland Athletic Conference and all-state honors four times.
She was a two-time All-American in cross country at Iowa, placing 30th at the NCAA meet her junior year (2007 season) and fifth as a senior (2008). She also was an All-American in indoor and outdoor track.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? | RACHEAL MARCHAND
The Racheal Marchand file
-- Marchand will train in Iowa City, Iowa, with hopes of making the Puerto Rican Olympic team for the 2012 summer games.
-- At the University of Iowa, Marchand was an All-American in the 10,000 meters in 2008 and in the 5,000 in 2009.
-- Marchand was named All-Big Ten in 2009.
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