Runner Shaunae Miller-Uibo On How Doing What You Love Empowers Others

by: Elly Ayres

Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s been running since she was 6 years old — when she used to sprint around the softball field where her mom played. Eighteen years later, Miller-Uibo is an Olympic athlete running circles around the competition. Though she’s already looking to next year’s Olympics (and this year’s World Championships, too), the Nassau-born runner’s passion for the sport goes deeper than competing for medals.

“Sometimes people look at us and think we just run, but there’s so much more to that,” says Miller-Uibo. “We learn the values of hard work, patience, hardships, success, and so much more, and how to be able to juggle them all.”

But Miller-Uibo’s road to the top hasn’t been without a few challenges. In her first Olympic competition in 2012, an injury at the start of her race turned the rest of her season into a roller coaster, she says. “When we came out, I was really excited,” says Miller-Uibo. “But after my first few steps, I ended up pulling my hamstring. I didn’t even get to finish!”

The setback taught her to be patient and listen to the advice of her track and field coaches. “We had to learn to be a little bit smarter and not trying to rush through everything,” she says. “From now on, my goal is always just to stay healthy and be able to compete well.” In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Miller-Uibo took home the gold in the 400m.

That outlook has transformed Miller-Uibo’s career, and her accolades speak for themselves (the more recent being her gold medal at 2018’s Commonwealth Games in Australia for the 200m and three gold medals at 2018's Continental Cup in the Czech Republic for the 200m, 4x100m, and Mixed 4x400m). Miller-Uibo’s running success has inspired her to lift up others, too, especially in her native Bahamian community.

When she’s not speaking at schools, Miller-Uibo takes walks through local neighborhoods, speaking with kids about her extraordinary experiences to motivate them to chase their dreams, too. “I try to encourage them in anything they’re doing,” she says, adding that whether these kids want to be teachers, doctors, or anything in between, they just need to keep pushing through. “Inspiring little kids brings joy to me because I know I was once there, as well," she says.

With a goal to empower others even further, Miller-Uibo launched the Shaunae Miller-Uibo Foundation in 2016. The organization provides school supplies, scholarships, and even mentorship for underprivileged youth.

“I believe that it’s the little things in life that count the most,” says Miller-Uibo, “and so it fills my heart to know that just by doing what I love, I can inspire others to do the same.”

This post is sponsored by adidas Running and the new Ultraboost 19.

Photos: Filippo Del Vita; Art Direction: Molly Kugelmann; Assistant Art Direction: Julie Vaccaro; Prop Stylist: Lauren Bahr; Stylist: Eric Nicholson; Hair: Aki Yamaguchi; Makeup: Ashley Victoria; Production: Kat Fry; Branded Fashion Lead: Jenna Wexler