Hall of Famer’s running career took her from Fox Chapel to Franklin Field

Saturday, May 13, 2023, TRIB-LIVE

Rachel Humphrey’s affection for distance running started thanks to her dad’s interest in the sport. The 2008 Fox Chapel graduate used her abilities in the sport to take her sporting career to the University of Pennsylvania.

“My dad ran track and cross country in college,” Humphrey said. “I looked up to my dad, I tried it out and enjoyed it.”

For her athletic efforts, Humphrey was named to the Fox Chapel Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Humphrey earned eight varsity letters at Fox Chapel.

She was a two-time WPIAL medalist in cross country and three-time medalist in outdoor track. Humphrey qualified for states in cross country four times and three times for track.

When it came to running, Humphrey enjoyed the mental aspect of the sport.

“It was exciting to push myself to improve my mental and physical strengths to get a personal record,” Humphrey said. “It was nerve-wracking at the college level. When you have a bad day in college, you could come in last place. If you had a bad day, the stakes are higher. It’s definitely a little bit scarier.”

Competing in the Ivy League was an honor for Humphrey. What made her interested in running at Penn was the opportunity to compete at Franklin Field. A historic track venue originally built in 1895, Franklin Field plays home to the Penn Relays, a meet that showcases the top college and high school athletes every year.

“I felt at home with my teammates there,” Humphrey said. “It was amazing and an honor. Going to track practice at Franklin Field was cool. It is such a grand space. It felt surreal to be a part of that history.”

Being a part of a sport at an demanding academic institution was a challenge for Humphrey.

“I would argue being a student-athlete in college made me a better student than if I just had full control of my own schedule as a young person,” Humphrey said. “It was a large time commitment. It is actually an asset academically to have sport.”

Humphrey now lives in New York City, but returns to the Pittsburgh area frequently throughout the year. She is excited to be honored by Fox Chapel and is grateful to Foxes track coach Thomas Moul for helping get her prepared for competing in college.

“The first feeling I felt was gratitude,” Humphrey said. “My parents, siblings and grandparents spent a lot of time at rainy or snowy cross country meets. The amount of time and travel effort that my parents and coaches put in to support me, that helped give me every opportunity I’ve ever had in my life.”