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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Mother-Daughter Duo Heads To Boston Marathon

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Jackie Yungblut and her Mom Carolyn McKinnon are no strangers to the world of competing in races, but running is more than sets goals and competing for the two ladies. It is more about community, friendship, and inspiring anyone that has a dream to dream big and wait for the miracle to happen.

“Dreams come true with having the right mindset and foundation to be successful. So, we would like to thank the Lloydminster and Wainwright Running Clubs alongside our local community, here in Vermillion and Mannville for supporting and cheering us on along the way,” commented Carolyn. 

Carolyn is originally from Charlottetown, PEI, but had lived in Ottawa for 33 years before moving to the Vermilion/Mannville area just over 13 years ago.

Carolyn’s passion for running began in 1969 when her Uncle Bill MacKinnon won a gold medal in the 100-yard dash at the first Canada Summer Games in Halifax-Darthmouth.

“His accomplishment was the spark that led me to believe that I too could be one of the best in running,” commented McKinnon. 

McKinnon noted that while in Elementary school she tried out for the track, basketball, and volleyball teams, etc., but was never successful in making the teams due to her small stature and that she just wasn’t good enough.. yet!! That all changed when she finally made the track team when she was in grade 8.

“I was entered to run in the 400 meters…Finally, there I was standing at the starting line…the gun blasted loud and my competitors started to sprint, and they were fast…I thought to myself, they will get tired and I will catch up to them. Just keep running Carolyn.” commented McKinnon. McKinnon noted that she was in last place until she was able to catch up with the girl that was walking at that point. While she was disappointed with her performance it didn’t dampen her spirits, and in the next race she competed in she did do better just as she knew she would.

In grade 9 McKinnon made all the teams she tried out for and was a record holder at her school Laurentian High School. In the 800 meter, she had a time of 2:14, 1500m in a time of 5:12, in the 3000m she had a time of 11:45, and in a 5k road race, she clocked a time of 20:03. 

She also ran in a handful of 5 and 10k running races over the last 6 years and the COVID shutdowns pushed her running to the next level where she went from running 5k to participating in virtual ultras.

“2020 personal peaks 12-hour race, completed 86k in 12 hours, 50k Support Service Dogs in 6 hours,” said McKinnon.

In 2021 her daughter Jackie Yungblut wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon so they both signed up for the 2021 Calgary Marathon and McKinnon finished with a time of 4:25. In 2022 both Carolyn and Jackie went back to run in the 2022 Calgary Marathon to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon (you have to run in a marathon that has been approved by the BAA as a Boston Marathon Qualifying Race in a specific amount of time according to your age and gender) again and Carolyn was successful with a time of 3:47:14. 

For Carolyn, running is more than a hobby it is a lifestyle…a filter for all her life happenings. 

“It has healing and nurturing components; it is hard and sometimes brings forth tears but I love it!! I enjoy pushing my limits, I like to compete and yes, I like to win,” said McKinnon.

Carolyn’s daughter Jackie moved to Vermilion in 2007 and currently lives south of Mannville with her husband Joey and their two boys Jacob and Jet. 

Like her mom, she began running when she was a young child and always competed in cross country and track and field for fun. 

“I recently got back into it a few years ago as my mom and I started training with Shane Mascarin from Wainwright who is our running coach. He comes with many years of experience and knowledge with marathon running as well as ultras,” explained Jackie. 

Jackie explained that running for her is a hobby and that she also does it for her mental health and physical well-being. Yungblut says that she has always loved running and that she started out doing 5k and 10k races, moving on to half marathons, and that she always had the Boston Marathon in the back of her mind but never thought she would ever qualify.

“Once I started training with Shane I told him what my goal was and from there I have been working towards that goal, which I reached this past May in Calgary,” explained Yungblut.

Yungblut stated that you have to compete in a Marathon such as the Calgary Marathon where they have cut-off times for each age group and that her cut-off time was 3 hours, 30 minutes and zero seconds. The first time she tried in 2021 she missed the qualifying cut-off time by seven minutes, but her second attempt in 2022 was a success with a time of 3 hours, 27 minutes and 59 seconds. This will be her and her mom’s first time competing in the Boston Marathon. 

To prepare for the huge event Jackie is currently running three times a week with other forms of training included.

“One is an aerobic run where I run at a slower pace to keep my heart rate down, the other one is intervals which includes faster running and the third is a long run. The other days of the week are strength training, walking, biking, whichever. To be honest, I am not so good at doing strength training every week,” laughs Jackie, who said, “I think anyone in general who completes a marathon deserves a pat on the back. You really have to have the determination and push through the pain when you want to give up, it’s also mental. I always tell myself mind over matter when it starts to get tough.”

Jackie’s mom wrote a poem about running that says:

 Running is the window to my soul… It is here, in the silence amongst the noise where the beauty of vulnerability becomes my strength as I merge into my authentic self...organically evolving in a timeless portal of evanescence…It is here; in these moments…where I find truths and I am free.

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