Jackie Hall Jumps into Success

By Brenda Alvarado

It’s 2:20 p.m., she’s got to go. There are girls waiting on her. Jackie Hall leaves her seventh hour English class along

Jackie Hall sets records with running (photo from: file)
Jackie Hall sets records with running (photo from: file)

with her students, quickly hops in her car, leaves McCluer North and heads to FHN to coach jumps.

“She’s never jumped before but she knows track, and when you know track, you know track,” Head Track Coach Gregory Hennefent said.

Since fifth grade, Jackie has been around track. At only eight years old, she was a part of the year-round track club St. Charles Cyclones as a distance runner.

“When I started out, I wasn’t that good,” Jackie said. “I kept at it because I liked the people and the social aspect. It wasn’t until freshman year that I got good.”

Jackie’s senior year, her 4×800 meter relay team became State Champions.

“I knew all the girls from the Cyclones,” Jackie said. “It was fun and exciting to win State with your best friends.”

She went on to run at Mizzou for two years, but because of frequent injuries, she took a break.

“After Mizzou, I transferred to Lindenwood and I ran there for a while,” Jackie said. “I liked it, but it just wasn’t the same.”

And for a while, that was Jackie Hall’s running career. She had become so focused on other things, like her daughter, Madeline, that she didn’t run for a while.

Then she got an idea.

A pretty outrageous idea.

She was going to run a marathon.

26.2 miles.

By this point in her career, the longest race Jackie had run was a 10K, 6.2 miles, in collegiate Cross Country.

All her life, she had been running with a team, and she missed it.

So she decided to make her own.

“When I started running again, I noticed that other people had teams,”Jackie said. “They had the social aspect of the sport and I really missed that.”

Jackie created Runnababez Elite with her friend Lisa Cary for the sole reason of having a club where elite female runners could run and train together. They currently have six elite runners and are sponsored by Fleet Feet and Adidas. It was through this club that Jackie realized, like her freshman year of high school, that she might be good at this too. In April, she won, and holds the record for the GO! Saint Louis Marathon, with a time of 33:43. This qualified her for the Olympic time trials in the marathon. She trained for the time trial, which was held in Houston for months.

When the time trial finally rolled around, and she found herself standing on the line, gun about to shoot, she was nervous, but she was ready.

The top 25 qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Jackie finished 70th.

With this lifelong experience with track, Jackie hopes to coach these jumpers. When she heard about the opening at North, she was eager to become a part of North’s track program. Although Jackie herself has never been a jumper, her husband is a jumper and many of the Runnababez have had experience. She knows jumps is a different, more power-driven and she plans on incorporating this into her coaching style. At practices they jump and work on technique, as well as sometimes doing stair workouts.

“She’s taught me how to take my steps and take flight,” sophomore Lauren Bartam said. “I like her as a coach.”

At the first meet of the season, the FZW Invitational, sophomore Autumn Todd won the JV High Jump and junior Cynthia Cahall got second in the long jump.