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Podcast Review: The Social Work Role in Eating Disorders in Running (By Traci Nigg)

While listening the to Runner’s World podcast, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the organization present a unique discussion and comparison on eating disorders and disordered eating in running. Inspired by the week dedicated to eating disorder awareness, the Runner’s World team opened up a survey to the general public followed by this roundtable discussion of professionals. This is where my pleasant surprise set in. First of all, they highlighted the runner from Michigan State who vulnerably shared her story of battling an eating disorder while trying to be a competitive, collegiate athlete. Her story can be found on a previous blog post from ASWIS.

Secondly, Runner’s World highlighted that the “Panelists for this roundtable include: Heather Mayer Irvine, Runner’s World food and nutrition editor; Hannah McGoldrick, Runner’s World social media editor; Rachele Schulist, a two time NCAA All-American runner at Michigan State University who recently shared her battles with food and weight while running competitively; and Rachel Presskreischer, a program associate from the National Eating Disorders Association (Fennessy, 2017).” In the interview they introduced the professional from the National Eating Disorders Association, later described as “Researcher Rachel,” as a master’s social worker who is also a runner. She also recently finisher her first marathon. Go Rachel!

I followed the link to the National Eating Disorders Association and found “Rachel Presskreischer, LMSW, Senior Program Associate” and noticed that they have multiple other social workers on staff. What I appreciated is that of all the mental health professionals that Runner’s World could have reached out to, a social worker happened to be the one working in the field of their specific interest for this panel. She is also actively involved in running and is well-versed on how to serve runners who are challenged with eating disorders and disordered eating. This is a great listen for anyone interested in better understanding the mental and physical impacts of eating disorders on athletes. There is also a perspective shared by one of the panelists on the negative, unsupportive responses she received from therapists or other professionals that caused her lose faith and trust in sharing this vulnerable part of herself with a mental health professional. This is something worth processing to improve our approach as practitioners and helping professionals.

Full story and podcast can be found on the Runner’s World website at

Shout out to Rachel Presskreischer for her excellent representation of the value of having social workers in sports!

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