Jim Jackson was one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest track and field athletes. He competed for 20 years, and was one of the few Newfoundlanders who were both a champion walker and a champion runner. On numerous occasions he won the one mile walk, the one mile run, the five mile walk and the six mile run at the provincial championships on Bell Island.
His astounding career included victories in the Telegram ten mile run, the ten mile walk, the 20 mile walk and the 26 mile marathon. Always demonstrating a great determination to finish first in each and every race, he earned a reputation for being able to compete successfully at every distance, in race walking and running.
He put together his greatest year in 1957. He won the one mile walk, the one mile run, the five mile walk and the six mile run and proved to be invincible as he added victories in the Telegram ten mile run, the ten mile walk, the 20 mile walk and the 26 mile marathon. For his tremendous performance, he was runner-up for the St. John’s Athlete of the Year.
He broke the record for the twenty mile walk on September 28, 1963, with a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes, 4 seconds.
Like most of the athletes of the ’50s and ’60s, he had very little coaching. He was a small man with the heart of a lion. In all his races, especially the long distance events, he continuously displayed a great winning attitude, overcoming all obstacles. He proved that he could conquer every course that was used for the distance races, as hills and turns were covered with the same speed as flat and straight areas.
An extremely popular athlete, he gained the support of the sporting public by the quiet and unassuming manner in which he accepted his great successes. He was a wonderful walker and runner who excelled at every distance, from one to 26 miles.
Jim Jackson simply loved to compete, simply loved to do his best, and simply established himself as a remarkable athlete.
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