Meet McMaster Sports Hall of Famer, Jessica Pearo-Rawlins
C/O McMaster Marauders, Sherbrooke Athletics
Jessica Pearo-Rawlins is one of the newest inductees into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame
Jessica Pearo-Rawlins is one of 2021’s four inductees into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame. Immediately after the mandatory 10-year waiting period from which she graduated from McMaster, she was nominated and then selected by the Hall of Fame committee.
Pearo-Rawlins is one of the most decorated athletes, not only in cross-country, but in all of Marauders’ history. Pearo-Rawlins spent four years at McMaster studying Kinesiology from 2007 to 2011, where she earned many well-deserved accolades for both athletics and academics. During her time at McMaster, Pearo-Rawlins was named an Academic All-Canadian for three consecutive years, was awarded the female student-athlete community service award in 2009 and maintained the Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship for all four years.
Athletics-wise, Pearo-Rawlins was the first female Marauder to win an OUA gold medal in 2010. In addition, she became the first Marauder to win an individual gold medal at a CIS cross-country final in a five-kilometer run over hilly terrain. In addition, she is a two-time CIS first-team all-Canadian, three-time OUA first-team all-star and was named McMaster Female Athlete of the Year twice.
Back in 2011 in an interview with Daily News McMaster, Pearo-Rawlins explained that she was applying to physiotherapy graduate school, with the goal being to earn a master of physiotherapy at the University of Toronto. In the interview, Pearo-Rawlins explained that she hoped to one day run her own clinic and help athletes such as herself. Now, around 10 years later, her goal has become a reality with the opening of Prospect Physiotherapy in 2021.
“I worked at a great clinic called Lifespring to do therapy for about eight years and then transitioned into my own practice now, [for] which I've had a lot of help along the way. But that's sort of been my goal that I've been working towards so it's super exciting now that it's actually happened,” said Pearo-Rawlins.
She and her two coworkers each have their niche of athletes that they work with and Pearo-Rawlins focuses on runners such as herself. Currently, she works with the Newmarket Huskies Track Club and other local distance runners.
“They sort of sought me out just because of my background in the sport so just being able to treat patients that you are well acquainted with the type of injuries that they've had is very helpful for them just to be able to feel like I know what they're going through,” explained Pearo-Rawlins.
Something that has greatly helped Pearo-Rawlins during her time as a varsity athlete was the presence of supportive friends, family and coaches and this still carries forward today with the new challenges that come with opening her own practice.
“I tended to be anxious until he'd arrive at the course. And honestly, he wouldn't say much; it would just be like a hug and then I just felt like I could calm down. And so honestly, even carrying through into today like opening a clinic and a business is a big thing and just having that family support from really everybody in my life: my husband, my father-in-law [and] my dad, again just being that ear. I feel like I'm somebody who needs to vent a lot and talk things out and just have those people in my life that are able to hear me and talk me down,” explained Pearo-Rawlins.
While cross-country is a sport of individuals, it is the contributions of family members, fellow team members and coaches Rory Sneyd and Paula Schnurr that helped shape Pearo-Rawlins into the incredible athlete, businesswoman and physiotherapist she is today.