LANGLEY, British Columbia – Alison Jackson is a machine.

When she’s not on the trails with the Trinity Western cross country team, she’s in the pool with the Spartans swim team. When she’s not in the pool, she’s on the road with her cycling team.  When she’s not on her bike, she’s in class. When she’s not in class, she’s in the library studying. And when she’s not studying, well she’s probably laughing and smiling somewhere and giving someone a big hug.

Sleeping and eating? Well that finds a place somewhere in between.

Jackson is a triathlete, but not just any triathlete. On Monday, Oct. 22 at 8:30 a.m. local time, Jackson, who hails from Vermilion, Alta., will be competing in the 2012 Age Group Olympic Distance World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. And she has her sights set on podium finish.

“I’m aiming for a top-three finish overall,” said the 23-year-old Jackson, who arrived at Trinity Western in January 2010. “I think for my age category (20-24), I’m looking to win it. It’s a little bit ambiguous because I don’t know how to compare it, but I think it’s doable.”

Last summer, Jackson qualified for the Age Group World Championships – a competition that is just below the elite level race and one that doesn’t allow cyclists to draft – by winning the Alberta provincial championship in Canmore, Alta. and since then, she has continued to take great strides forward in her triathlon success, as she’s trained competed with the Spartans track and field, cross country and swim teams. And the ultra-organized Jackson has done so all the while without a dedicated triathlon coach.

“She really deserves the credit for coordinating all her workouts and training without a specific triathlon coach,” said Spartans track and field and cross country coach Laurier Primeau. “She has always been very talented, but now she is working smarter and she’s learning how to taper volumes and peak at the right times. And her efforts have proven fruitful as her lone crossing country result this year saw her finish second in the Western Washington Classic (with a time of 21:42 over six kilometres).”

Following her first full season with the Spartans cross country, track and field and swim teams last year – highlighted by a 31st place finish at the Canadian Senior Cross Country Championships and an eighth place finish in the 3000m at the Canada West Championships – Jackson started gearing up for her first ever Age Group World Triathlon Championships.

And, in the process, she continued to climb the triathlon ladder, earning herself the opportunity to race at the elite level on two separate occasions. This year, she raced in the Kelowna ITU Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup at the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon, where she finished 13th in a time of 2:20:21.  Then, most recently, she competed in the Buffalo ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup at the Nickel City Triathlon in a field that included Bermudian Olympian Fiora Duffy. Unfortunately, she was lapped after mechanical issues and, once lapped, she was forced to withdraw.

But despite the result in Buffalo, the very fact she was racing in the elite category proved she’s most certainly on the right path.

“Every year it has gotten more and more,” Jackson said. “Last year, I was thinking all I wanted to do was race elite and finishes races. But then I’m already there doing that. So my new goal is to get a top 10 finish in an elite race and then we’ll see after that.”

But for now, Jackson is focusing on New Zealand. And with that, not only comes a chance to race but also an opportunity to continue her work with Athletes in Action.

With a group of Canadians, Jackson will, as the international coordinator, help make AIA visible for both Canadian triathletes and those from other countries, which will include hosting small events throughout the time they are in New Zealand.

For Jackson, that opportunity along with the possible opportunity to win a race of this magnitude has her grinning, in typical fashion, from ear to ear.

And if this machine keeps ticking like it has since she came to the Langley campus, her time in New Zealand could well be just another step in an athletic career that is just starting to break out.

Click here for more information on the World Championships.

Click here to follow Alison Jackson on her blog.


Last Updated: 2013-08-22
Author: Mark Janzen