Born to run


Brandon Woods, Staff Reporter

The fiery burst of the gun left a shrill ringing in the competitors’ ears. They slowly took form, separating, as their feet strode across the ground. The runners set themselves a pace, each creating a mindset of her own, to win. This particularly is important to McCluer North’s Jackie Hall.

On January 14, 2012, Hall participated in the Olympic Trials marathon race. This race determined which top 3 men and top 3 women will represent USA in the Olympics in London, England. Hall was given an opportunity to try to qualify for the race. This has been a race she has dreamed of running in since she was a little girl.

It all started in fifth grade, when Hall started to become interested in running. She joined a local track team that goes by the name of The Cyclones. From then on Hall has made running part of everyday life.

She took the skills that she developed from The Cyclones, and used them on her high school track team, and later when she became a student at the University of Missouri (Mizzou). Hall eventually came back to St. Louis due to a slew of injuries, which caused her to take some time off running. However, these injuries didn’t stop her from doing what she loves to do.

Hall enrolled into Lindenwood University, earning a spot on their track team. After this she could not be stopped. She started to set bigger dreams for herself. She wanted to earn a spot on the USA Olympic team.

From her setting this goal, she began vigorously training to get to that point. Before Hall could get to that position, she had to get pass the Olympic trials. 
Hall then met Serena Burla, who became one of her running buddies. As well as Hall, Burla enjoyed running also. Finishing second place in the U.S 1/2-marathon race, she has inspired Hall to do her best at races.

Hall then entered into the St. Louis marathon, after many hard weeks of training with Burla. The training seemed to turn out perfect, because Hall was able to finish second place with a strong 3:07:24. 
After this amazing accomplishment, Hall then started to prepare for the trials. Before she could get into the trials race, Hall had to run in the race that determined if you could run in the Olympic trials.

Hall then flew out to Chicago, Illinois to see if she could qualify for the trials. In order to become a qualifier, you have to finish at any time less than 2 hours and 46 minutes. Unfortunately Hall finished a little bit over that time, and didn’t qualify for the trials.

Although she wasn’t able to complete the marathon in Chicago, she was given another opportunity to qualify for the trials. This time Hall turned to social studies teacher Mr. Webster for training. Webster served as her mentor and trainer throughout the whole time. The two of them trained much harder than before. She began running up to 6 days a week, twice a day. Hall would range her running from 5 miles to 24 miles. 
The-qualifying race for the Olympic trials finally approached Hall, and she was more than excited. She went back with a mindset knowing that she will be able to join the trials. Sure enough, Hall’s mindset was correct. She finished just a little above 2 hours and 46 minutes.

“I have not cried any harder than I did when I found out I made it,” said Hall.

She was absolutely ecstatic with her being able to qualify for the trials. Hall knew now that it was time for her to get prepared for the trials, to see if she will be eligible to support USA during the Olympics, which will be held in London, England.

Hall only had a few weeks to prepare for the trials, and she planned to do all that she could to get herself physically, and mentally ready for the trials. 
Then came the time for Hall to board the plane to Houston, Texas for the Olympic trials.

“I didn’t feel pressured at all, I was ready to go,” said Hall.

Her mother, sister, and husband, Mr. Hall, accompanied her on this trip to see if she would make it. 
Then came time for the race. Many families gathered at the race to see if their love one would make the Olympics. The race began, and Hall took off with a steady stride. Around the 20th lap she became a little tired, but she knew that she couldn’t give up on herself. She continued along with the race, without stopping or walking and finished at a strong 70th place, with an exact time of 2:44:22.

“I felt that I was much faster after this race, but I was completely satisfied with my placement,” said Hall.

Although she wasn’t able to sail through as one of the top 3 women, no one was able to pass her up in the race. She was ranked 117 out of 191, but finished at 70th, an astounding placement. She says that she will return in 2016 to qualify again, and this time she is planning to place in the top 25. 
After the race her family was completely happy for her. Her family was all that she thought about while she was running, and this was what kept her motivated.

Running has definitely become a big part of Hall’s life. 
”Running makes me tired, but it gives me energy as well,” said Hall.

“Running helps me sleep better, eat better, and allows me to be shaped mentally and physically.”

She has inspired many other people to pursue dreams in which they plan to pursue one. Her biggest inspiration would have to be her daughter Samantha, simply because she wants her daughter growing up knowing her mother as a strong healthy woman that never gave up.

Her husband, Jonathan Hall, McCluer North’s world history and journalism teacher supported her the whole time. He himself is inspired with all of the goals that his wife has achieved.

“My wife is very goal oriented to achieve her dreams,” said Hall.

“Any person that is able to run a marathon is very strong, because it takes a lot of hard work to be able to do so.”