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Heather Jackson
United States
World Rank
18
Weight
54kg
Height
1.62m
Age
37
DOB
04/24/84
Bike: Argon 18Run: Hoka One One
74%Swim92%Bike88%Run89%Overall
Athletes are measured as a percentage (for each discipline and overall) based on a relative comparison to the #1 ranked athlete who's rated at 100%.
Biography More

Heather Jackson

Heather Jackson was on the cusp of the United States' ice hockey team for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, but didn't quite make it.

She had been in the Under-22 national team, and was in the training-camp group of 40 from which the final 22 was chosen.

But ice hockey's loss has undoubtedly been triathlon's gain as she has carved out a stellar career since switching sports.

Her most notable achievements include the all-time fastest IRONMAN by an American, thanks to her 8:39:18 at Arizona in 2018. She also has four top-five finishes at the World Championship in Kona - 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Five full-IRONMAN titles and a double-figure tally of 70.3 successes, including second place at the 70.3 World Championship, add yet more lustre to a spectacular triathlon CV.

It is a remarkable haul for someone who hadn't even swum until leaving college, and she is now one of long-distance triathlon's most recognisable faces and distinctive characters.

New beginnings

Growing up, one of Heather's heroes was ice hockey star Cammi Granato, captain of the US team which won gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

As one of the best players in the country, Heather won a scholarship to Princeton to study a degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies, and the chance to try and emulate Granato's exploits.

The star of the team in her four years at Princeton, she trained with the national squad over the summers at Lake Placid.

She missed out on an Olympic spot of course, but Lake Placid would come to have a very different sporting connection for her in the years to come.

Heading home after graduating, the first seed for a triathlon career was then sown: "That was thanks to my parents, they signed up for a local sprint tri in New Hampshire and I went with them."

Soon after she was off to Thailand, where she had accepted a teaching position for the year. With little chance to play ice hockey there, she started running, but it was her gym visits which pushed her into the next stage of her triathlon development.

Some of Heather’s friends in Thailand had signed up for IRONMAN Malaysia in 2007, and she decided to join them.

"Starting to swim was tough," she recalls. "I never swam growing up at all, so was out of college before I had to learn it."

The cycling wasn't easy either, so her training for that first event mostly consisted of spin sessions at the gym.

But despite being virtually last out of the water, she battled through the race and was hooked.

Heather’s next teaching position was closer to home in San Jose, California, and by now she had won her age group in a local race and qualified for IRONMAN Lake Placid.

A pattern was now emerging as she was also quickest in the 18-24 category at Lake Placid, meaning it was next stop Kona.

Jackson had two months of "fun" training before the World Championship, and that proved enough for her to land the age-group title in Hawaii.

In 2009 she met Sean Watkins ('Wattie'), who is now her husband, and he would be the person to persuade her to take the plunge and turn professional.

Those early years saw her race mostly at the half distance, and with increasing success.

In 2010 at 70.3 Timberman she was third to Chrissie Wellington, and also came home fifth at the 70.3 World Championship at Clearwater, Florida.

Another breakthrough moment came in 2011 when she moved into the lead in the run at 70.3 Oceanside. She then proceeded to have a great battle with another triathlon legend in the shape of then-reigning Kona champion Mirinda Carfrae.

Carfrae eventually prevailed by just 10 seconds for her fourth consecutive win at the event, but in her winner's interview uttered the prophetic words: "Heather showed today she's a force to be reckoned with at 70.3, and IRONMAN if she chooses”.

The wins soon started to come. 2012 saw the first of four Wildflower Triathlon victories, with a course-record time of 4:26:29, and Heather also landed 70.3 Oceanside the following year. There was significant progress too at the 70.3 World Championship, highlighted by third in 2012 and second in 2013.

By 2014 Jackson was also getting in the mix in full-distance events, as Carfrae had predicted three years earlier.

Her IRONMAN pro debut came at Arizona, with third place a fantastic start. "I expected it to be hard, but that was ridiculous," she said afterwards. "Maybe I'll stick to 70.3s!"

But that was never going to happen, and that performance was the one which started an incredible sequence of Kona results. Fifth in 2015, third in 2016 and then fourth places in 2017 and 2019.

The only blip was a 14th in 2018, which Heather put down to overcooking the training. And she promptly had what should have been her 'Kona race' at IRONMAN Arizona five weeks later when she blitzed the all-time fastest time by an American with 8:39:18. It also beat her PB for the distance by more than 20 minutes.

Further full-distance and 70.3 triumphs in 2019 means Heather is in pole position to qualify for the PTO's flagship Collins Cup, riding high in the American team standings.

Standing out from the crowd

Heather is keen to stress the influence her husband has played pretty much throughout her triathlon career.

"I feel so lucky I've had Wattie from when I was still an age-grouper. He's also helped with lots of the other stuff that you deal with outside of just training and racing."

He also founded, and the pair of them then grew, the distinctive Wattie Ink. apparel range.

Sean has also been the inspiration for her distinctive tattoos, but it is her positive outlook and aggressive style of racing which have really made her stand out from the crowd and endeared her to the fans.

She now hopes that she can help others through her actions.

"[Triathlon coach] Matt Dixon said to me early on: 'At the end of the day, whether it's good or bad, memories of results or positions you come in fade or are forgotten. But people don't forget how you make them feel or if you are kind or kind and encouraging’.”

And when asked what she sees as her triathlon legacy, Heather adds: "I guess just being consistent as an athlete. But more so for being kind and inspiring people to get after something or go after a goal when they may not have done otherwise."

Current PTO World Ranking Points
18
Average best 3 races 2019/2020
97.13
2021 IM Tulsa
88.19
Average
92.66
Ranking History
#1#34#67#100#133201420152016201720182019202020212014Overall259.39 pts#21Swim111.95 pts#104Bike191.90 pts#15Run156.55 pts#372015Overall288.10 pts#10Swim121.84 pts#113Bike202.36 pts#8Run190.34 pts#92016Overall294.90 pts#5Swim131.96 pts#107Bike205.13 pts#4Run186.76 pts#132017Overall309.93 pts#4Swim130.09 pts#113Bike213.02 pts#4Run181.63 pts#222018Overall320.53 pts#5Swim121.47 pts#129Bike219.77 pts#5Run188.76 pts#172019Overall318.11 pts#9Swim121.42 pts#110Bike222.01 pts#5Run184.72 pts#242020Overall291.38 pts#13Swim115.29 pts#100Bike209.16 pts#9Run179.59 pts#202021Overall92.66 pts#18Swim56.66 pts#81Bike98.73 pts#8Run87.33 pts#21
Results
52 Races18
1
7
2
7
3
2021
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
27 Jun
DNF
IM Coeur d'Alene
--:--
--:--
--:--
--:--
08:56:41-
23 May
4
IM Tulsa
1:00:31
4:53:55
2:59:44
8:57:57
88.1865
08:48:3588.19
18 Apr
3
IM 70.3 Florida
30:32
2:17:25
1:34:05
4:27:41
59.2115
04:12:1559.21
11 Apr
4
IM 70.3 Texas
30:44
2:19:48
1:21:42
4:15:05
80.313
04:07:4680.31
12 Mar
9
Challenge Miami
27:48
1:35:29
1:04:06
3:09:28
69.7137
03:01:1469.71
2020
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
6 Dec
20
Challenge Daytona
29:10
1:55:50
1:11:34
3:38:40
66.2048
03:28:0766.20
2019
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
24 Nov
2
IM Arizona
1:01:06
4:44:41
3:04:08
8:55:49
92.98
08:50:1492.98
12 Oct
5
IM Hawaii
59:12
4:46:45
3:04:17
8:54:44
108.655
09:01:46108.66
8 Sep
3
IM 70.3 Santa Cruz
27:11
2:17:57
1:24:00
4:14:03
85.5218
04:08:3985.52
14 Jul
1
IM Vitoria-Gasteiz
58:07
4:43:42
3:06:03
8:52:10
89.1789
08:43:4089.18
30 Jun
1
IM 70.3 Coeur d'Alene
27:56
2:21:55
1:20:09
4:12:59
89.7429
04:09:0989.74
19 May
1
IM 70.3 Chattanooga
26:43
2:19:09
1:22:16
4:14:25
86.6355
04:09:2586.64
4 May
8
IM 70.3 St. George
29:17
2:22:49
1:27:05
4:22:42
69.9421
04:11:2269.94
6 Apr
5
IM 70.3 California
26:29
2:27:18
1:20:21
4:18:23
83.6098
04:12:1183.61
2018
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
18 Nov
1
IM Arizona
57:33
4:35:25
3:00:48
8:39:18
112.348
08:49:06112.35
13 Oct
14
IM Hawaii
58:18
4:44:45
3:21:56
9:09:16
72.6881
08:47:3972.69
22 Jul
1
IM Lake Placid
1:00:58
5:04:44
3:08:29
9:18:49
97.1044
09:16:2497.10
3 Jun
2
IM 70.3 Raleigh
30:38
2:21:32
1:30:30
4:25:34
65.6394
04:12:3365.64
20 May
1
IM 70.3 Chattanooga
22:44
2:19:33
1:25:13
4:11:08
82.0532
04:04:3382.05
5 May
1
Wildflower
--:--
--:--
--:--
4:34:46
73.9485
04:24:2673.95
7 Apr
4
IM 70.3 California
27:28
2:26:35
1:25:16
4:23:53
74.8766
04:14:1874.88
2017
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
14 Oct
4
IM Hawaii
57:58
4:53:54
3:06:19
9:02:29
111.078
09:11:39111.08
13 Aug
1
IM 70.3 Steelhead
30:35
2:18:27
1:24:04
4:16:57
79.129
04:09:0979.13
23 Jul
1
IM 70.3 Calgary
25:47
2:05:17
1:24:12
3:57:20
79.1425
03:50:0879.14
11 Jun
2
IM Boulder
59:51
4:49:06
3:26:09
9:20:42
85.151
09:08:2985.15
21 May
1
IM 70.3 Chattanooga
25:56
2:21:47
1:23:39
4:15:20
81.8515
04:08:3481.85
23 Apr
1
IM 70.3 Peru
26:56
2:17:26
1:25:14
4:12:41
80.6796
04:05:3480.68
1 Apr
4
IM 70.3 California
28:47
2:28:49
1:23:01
4:25:52
72.0898
04:15:1172.09
2016
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
23 Oct
4
Challenge Aruba
32:45
2:25:21
1:46:52
4:47:38
18.5469
04:16:1918.55
8 Oct
3
IM Hawaii
58:56
5:00:31
3:07:48
9:11:32
99.1528
09:10:5099.15
24 Jul
1
IM Lake Placid
1:00:22
4:57:36
3:07:00
9:09:42
99.6967
09:09:2799.70
26 Jun
1
IM 70.3 Coeur d'Alene
28:10
2:23:24
1:24:01
4:19:34
86.0146
04:14:1486.01
22 May
1
IM 70.3 Chattanooga
26:14
2:17:38
1:24:03
4:11:56
93.588
04:09:3293.59
7 May
DNF
IM 70.3 St. George
--:--
--:--
--:--
--:--
04:16:37-
2 Apr
3
IM 70.3 California
27:07
2:24:30
1:21:55
4:18:32
89.8778
04:14:4089.88
2015
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
10 Oct
5
IM Hawaii
1:04:36
5:04:43
3:07:53
9:21:45
93.1459
09:16:0293.15
16 Aug
2
IM 70.3 Timberman
29:47
2:22:44
1:26:07
4:20:41
79.573
04:12:5679.57
28 Jun
1
IM Coeur d'Alene
1:02:00
5:08:31
3:08:54
9:23:27
92.7439
09:17:2392.74
16 May
11
IM Texas
59:39
4:55:08
3:42:49
9:43:27
38.878
08:54:2738.88
2 May
2
Wildflower
26:52
2:32:51
1:31:20
4:35:04
73.629
04:24:3673.63
28 Mar
1
IM 70.3 California
27:07
2:20:51
1:22:22
4:14:47
96.0518
04:13:1796.05
11 Jan
3
IM 70.3 Pucon
28:13
2:31:01
1:30:13
4:34:10
49.3284
04:14:4849.33
2014
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
16 Nov
3
IM Arizona
58:57
4:47:07
3:18:51
9:08:57
81.9769
08:54:3081.98
21 Sep
1
IM 70.3 Princeton
27:33
2:25:03
1:25:13
4:20:55
71.9541
04:10:2371.95
7 Sep
13
IM 70.3 World Championship
27:08
2:25:31
1:27:00
4:23:31
62.6414
04:09:3262.64
3 May
1
Wildflower
25:51
2:35:38
1:42:20
4:34:18
78.5081
04:25:4478.51
29 Mar
2
IM 70.3 California
27:04
2:25:07
1:19:07
4:14:15
98.9057
04:13:5098.91
16 Feb
4
IM 70.3 Panama
19:40
2:18:32
1:30:34
4:13:24
56.9124
03:58:0156.91
2013
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
8 Sep
2
IM 70.3 World Championship
30:08
2:28:48
1:22:55
4:25:19
0
--
2012
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
9 Sep
3
IM 70.3 World Championship
28:54
2:27:45
1:32:13
4:32:32
0
--
2011
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
11 Sep
4
IM 70.3 World Championship
29:31
2:33:06
1:24:27
4:30:21
0
--
2010
Points: NaN
DatePlaceRace
Swim
Bike
Run
OverallAITPoints
13 Nov
5
IM 70.3 World Championship
31:51
2:16:03
1:25:02
4:17:08
0
--
Ranking per Season
Overall
Year
Points
Position
2021
92
18
2020
291
13
2019
318
9
2018
320
5
2017
309
4
2016
294
5
2015
288
10
2014
259
21
Swim
Year
Points
Position
2021
56
81
2020
115
100
2019
121
110
2018
121
129
2017
130
113
2016
131
107
2015
121
113
2014
111
104
Bike
Year
Points
Position
2021
98
8
2020
209
9
2019
222
5
2018
219
5
2017
213
4
2016
205
4
2015
202
8
2014
191
15
Run
Year
Points
Position
2021
87
21
2020
179
20
2019
184
24
2018
188
17
2017
181
22
2016
186
13
2015
190
9
2014
156
37
TEST