Candace Jackson is an American 200m and 400m sprinter. She is a 9X All- American for Texas Tech University and a Dallas, Texas native.
What is your story?
I have been running track and playing basketball since I was 9 years old. When I was a sophomore in high school that all changed because my track coach told me that I had to run indoor track and I would not be able to play basketball anymore. As heartbroken as I was, I knew that I wanted to go to college for track, so I quit basketball and started focusing all of my attention on track. After a successful indoor season I knew I made the right decision. My senior year, I accepted a scholarship at Texas Tech University. I went on to become a 9x All-American and had great success!
After college (2013), I moved back to Dallas and tried to train myself for a while but I realized I wouldn’t be successful by myself. So I started training with local high school coaches. Unfortunately, I wasn’t responding well to the training and my times were getting slower. When April came I decided I wasn’t on the right track and I ended my season early. By 2014, I was pretty much done with running. I was offered a position to be a science teacher and a head coach at Dallas Skyline High School for the 2014-2015 school year. I thought really hard about it because even though the pay as a teacher would be great for me since I just graduated from college, I also thought that I’d be settling. Realistically, I could go back to get that job (or something similar) at any time. Knowing that running was still a passion for me, I decided I had to keep pursuing it, I had to keep going!
In October, I found out about World Athletic Center, which is now called “Altis”. Since I wanted to follow my dream and run track post collegiately, I decided to contact them. To my surprise, I was accepted into the training camp! At the time it was mid-October and I only had 2 weeks to raise the amount of money in order to move to Phoenix, pay for training and the costs of living. I did not have enough money saved for that kind of move and my parents said that would help but it still was not enough. So I reached out to my church, Greater Zion Baptist Church, everyone pulled together and I was able to raise all the money I needed in just 2 weeks! I started training on November 1st!! My first year with Altis, I felt like I was brought back to life! I was able to achieve a new my personal best in the 200 after 3 years of being unable to do so. I knew I was in the right place and I would only get better from there!
It is interesting because I never really thought I had a story to tell but after thinking about it, I realize that my story is one of perseverance and a reminder to follow your dreams. I have had a lot of ups and downs but I never wanted to have any regrets, I did not want to look back and have to live my dream through someone else. So I kept going and I am still going after my dream and I want to encourage other people to go so boldly after their dreams.
What was your most monumental moment in track and field?
My most monumental moment in track and field has to be this past July at the Edmonton International Track Classic. Being so young running against women I looked up to at a younger age and running my personal best time really gave me the mindset that I can compete on the elite level. It made me hungrier to actually want make a USA team and to not just compete at trials. Running a time I never ran before and doing it on a big stage meant a lot to me because it showed me that I can run well under pressure. It gave me a lot of hope and motivation, confirming that I was on my way. Being so close to certain people in the races let me know that if I can get that close to them then I can eventually pass them.
What is your mindset going into the Olympic Year?
My mindset this year is to just go out there and do what I know I’m capable of doing. What pushes me and what I think about a lot is not letting my church down. They helped me tremendously with the financial aspect of being in this training group and I don’t want let them down. Also, this is my dream! When I think about slacking, wasting other people’s money, and letting down people who believe in me and it just pushes and motivates me to work harder and to give my all to make this Olympic team!
How is Training going so far?
So far, training has been going great. My coach understands me and what type of athlete I am, so the workouts that I am doing are great for me. It can only get better from here! My training is going a lot smoother this year than it was last year and that’s because everything I learned last year I carried into this year. I did not know a lot of things as far as form, technique, to back off at a certain time of the season, and things like that so applying those things at the beginning of the season gives me a great start.
Advice to the Young Athletes
My advice to the young athletes is to follow your dream. Keep doing it even if you still have doubts. If there is a part of you that wants to keep doing it then you should do it. Just keep going. With sports, it’s so up and down, especially track and field. It’s always easy for the underdog to rise to the top and vise versa!
Keep working hard and keep pushing! When things get hard just keep going and do not to give up. Everyday you workout you are one step closer to your goals!
As for an actual workout try completing a mile a day any way you can! Whether you walk, jog, or crawl. Get out there and do it! And when you can do one mile, go for two and just keep going and pushing yourself.