A West Liberty resident recently returned from running her sixth world major marathon in Tokyo, Japan
Jackie Henderson traveled to Tokyo with her family at the beginning of March. The process to run the Tokyo marathon started for her back in 2020. Henderson was accepted to run the Tokyo marathon in 2020. Ten days before she was to leave she found out the race was cancelled because of the pandemic.
“They hadn’t let anybody back in until this year,” Henderson said.
Henderson was able to defer until this year for the Tokyo Marathon.
“I’m 53,” she said. “I’ll be 54 in May so I just thought I should probably go ahead and get this done.”
She left March 1 with her husband, Scott and daughter Mylei. Her son, Elliot, ran the marathon with her and also received his sixth star.
There was a lot of protocol she and Elliot had to follow leading up to the day of the race.
“We had to prove vaccination,” Jackie said. “We had to take (our) temperature right before the race and we had an app that we had to insert our health data for two weeks up to the race day.”
There are only 11,000 people in the world that have gotten their six stars by running all of the world major marathons which are Tokyo, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London and New York City.
To train for the marathon’s Henderson would run six to eight miles a day.
“I would probably average about 40 to 50 miles a week,” she said.
She did cross training and strength training along with walking and hiking.
“I try to incorporate a little bit of everything just so it’s easier on my body,” Jackie said. “And I think strength training has been really good for me as well.”
Each of the marathons have special memories for her.
“London is very different,” she said. “There’s tons of people who run in costumes. People have dinosaur costumes on and you’re running by Buckingham Palace and over the London Bridge."
She ran her fastest time in the Berlin Marathon in 2019.
“And I think that’s a neat message because as I have gotten older I haven’t gotten slower,” Jackie said. “I’ve gotten faster and Berlin was neat because that was the first time I traveled by myself.”
Her husband Scott wasn’t able to go with her to Berlin and her son met her there, she said.
Jackie said the New York City marathon was a blast because of the atmosphere there.
“There’s like two million people screaming along the side (of the marathon route),” she said.
Boston had a lot historical places on the marathon route, which she liked, Jackie mentioned.
“And Chicago’s kind of like my hometown race,” Henderson said. “That’s a blast, too, because you go through all of the sections of the city.”
Tokyo was a different experience for her and Elliot culturally.
“We ended up getting our final six star medal there together,” she added. “It’s really cool.”
Tokyo also had the quietest crowd watching the marathon runners, Jackie said. She thought this might have been due to the fact that Tokyo citizens were still wearing masks and a lot of regulations still remained in effect due to COVID-19.
“Or just culturally, they’re not as loud so that was different but it was also very zen like because you’re just going through the streets,” she said.
Another fond memory Jackie will have is being able to use her trip to Tokyo as a teaching moment for her students in the Talented and Gifted program in the West Liberty School District.
“They actually even helped me plan some of my trip,” she said. “It's a good way for them to learn about Japan and they knew a lot actually about Japan. They helped me figure out some of the details.”
She said running all of the races hasbeen a great experience for her and her family, too. Scott had never been to Europe and was able to go with her and Mylei was able to experience different cultures.
“It’s really opened her eyes,” Jackie added.