Triathlons aren’t easy. But for Jackie Campbell – her transition from a runner to a triathlete started by simply signing up for her first half Ironman. She didn’t own a bike and had never done any sort of competitive swimming.
Completing her first Ironman in the mountainous and scenic Whistler, Jackie has since built her athletic profile around pushing herself a little bit further each and every year. 5 or so years later, she’s proud to state that she’s completed 3 half Ironmans and 3 full Ironmans – averaging almost 1-2 per year. And that summary excludes her running races and accomplishments.
Jackie grew up playing hockey and running. About 7 years ago, she signed up for her first marathon. Jackie claims this is where she caught the running ‘bug.’ She has now completed 5 marathons and her first ultra-marathon, the Blackfoot Ultra – an 80 km race – this year.
Earlier in 2018, she also participated in the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. The challenge consisted of 4 races in 4 days: a 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, and full marathon – with the toughest distance on the last day. Last year, she competed in the Dirty Kanza – a 330 km gravel bike race in the US. And a few years ago, Jackie joined a few other bikers on a ride from Banff to Whitefish, Montana – a daring 450+ km distance.
So, what motivates her? What gets Jackie through those tough mental moments in the middle of a race? Jackie is lucky to have her boyfriend, Will, as her main support system at each race – including all of her Ironmans. During her 17-hour bike race in the US, he was there, making sure she was fed and hydrated – as well as ensuring that her bike was properly functioning. Jackie also boasts that “nothing beats a good playlist! And – never underestimate the power of a smile during a race!”
Jackie, further, cites Manon Rheaume, the first female to play in the NHL, as an athletic hero of hers. Manon Rheaume’s story offers inspiration for girls worldwide – being one of the first to break down the social barriers and constraints surrounding what women can achieve and do, specifically in the hockey world.
Jack admits to learning a lot the last few years about stepping back and recognizing when your body needs a break. Everyone has their limits. And Jackie claims she’s been no exception to this – stating, “Over the years, I have learned that it’s ok to take a day or two off if my body is telling me to.”
For those that want to get into triathlons, Jackie wants others to know that it’s never too late. Participants range from young to old and experienced to novice. Every triathlete started somewhere and was new to the sport at one point or another.
As for the future, Jackie hopes to be still tackling ultramarathons 5-10 years down the line – maybe even a few international races. Right now, she’s enjoying the off-season and is prepping for another Ultraman triathlon next year consisting of a 10 km swim, 426 km bike, and an 84 km run.