Midwesterner Jackie Hering has exclusively spent her career racing long-course events – and to no small amount of glory. More than a decade after turning pro, the victories keep coming.
Who is Jackie Hering?
Jackie Hering didn’t begin her pro racing career until she was well into her mid-twenties. But when she did finally give up the day job, the woman from Madison, Wisconsin certainly made up for lost time, recording a string of successes at both half- and full-Iron distances.
Initially, Hering began as a full-iron racer, finishing second on her debut at St George in 2011 and repeating the feat in Louisville three months later. Her first pro win came on home turf in 2013 with victory at Ironman Wisconsin.
In 2015, she began to focus exclusively on 70.3 racing and rapidly became a fixture of podiums across the half-iron scene.
Between 2016 and 2018, she juggled her race schedule with giving birth twice, and in 2019 truly returned to racing with a vengeance. That was undeniably her annus mirabilis, with 70.3 victories at Steelhead, Traverse City and Waco.
Becoming a mother seemed to have improved her performances; “I’m better since I’ve had kids,” she acknowledges.
Cruelly, the global pandemic’s effect on the race calendar meant that Hering’s excellent form couldn’t be taken advantage of during the 2020 season, but since full racing has resumed, so too have her top-level performances.
She continues to frequent race podiums, including the top spot at Challenge Daytona in 2021 where her dogged determination on the final lap of the run brought her one of her most glorious triumphs.
How old is Jackie Hering?
Jackie Hering was born on October 11 1985, making her 36 years of age.
Jackie Hering’s career highlights
May 2011: Double silver success in first pro season
Despite qualifying to go pro in 2008, Hering’s full-time job doesn’t allow her to race as such for another three years. Her first pro race is a success, coming second at Ironman St George in Utah, albeit 36mins behind Canada’s Heather Wurtele.
In August, another silver comes Hering’s way when she finishes just two minutes behind Ironman Louisville winner Nina Kraft of Germany. Hering repeats her Louisville silver the following year.
September 2013: Hering’s first full-distance gold
Two years into her pro career, Herring captures her first victory. Possibly taking advantage of local knowledge, the win comes in her home state, at Ironman Wisconsin.
June 2015: Hering’s maiden 70.3 win
Hering changes tack this season, largely concentrating on 70.3 racing, and is rewarded with podium finishes in Puerto Rico, Chattanooga and Racine. In June, she takes victory in Texas at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake, despite being in the early stages of her first pregnancy.
May 2017: The first comeback
Returning to racing after the birth of her son the previous year, Hering registers a series of impressive comeback performances, the pick being bronze at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga.
August 2018: A shortened but still successful season
Hering races just twice this season after child number two, a daughter, arrives in February. A silver in Michigan in August at Ironman 70.3 Steelhead is followed by a 13th-place finish at the 70.3 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
June 2019: Hering’s most bountiful year yet
Almost four years to the day since her first 70.3 win, Hering grabs her second, holding off a pack of compatriots at Steelhead.
She doesn’t have to wait long for her next victory. It comes less than two months later at Ironman 70.3 Traverse City, also in Michigan.
October 2019: More golden time in Texas
Although perhaps disappointed with coming 14th at the 70.3 world champs in Taupõ, New Zealand in September, Hering rounds off her most successful year ever with her third victory of 2019, at Ironman 70.3 Waco in Texas.
March 2020: Success south of the border
Just as Hering finds the form of her life, COVID intervenes and greatly shrinks the race calendar. But before it does, Hering adds another victory – this time at Ironman 70.3 Campeche in Mexico – to her growing list of glory.
December 2021: Firing form in Florida
Back to a full race calendar, Hering lands on the podium at Challenge Miami, Ironman 70.3 Des Moines and Ironman 70.3 Memphis, along with a handsome fifth-fastest performance at the inaugural Collins Cup in Slovakia.
The year’s highlight, though, is victory at Clash Daytona in December, where Hering takes the win by 23 seconds after overtaking Britain’s Lucy Buckingham on the final lap of the run.
May 2022: Leader of the pack at Chattanooga
July 2022: 12th, 13th, 14th…
Has a string of mid-teen finishes at the PTO Canadian Open (12th), Collins Cup (13th overall, third in her match-up against Anne Haug and Tamara Jewett) and PTO US Open (14th). In the latter she clocked the third fastest run.
Jackie Hering in quotes
On her first half-Iron win at Buffalo Springs Lake in Texas: “My favourite 70.3 win was my first back in 2015. I had to absolutely battle on that run. It was head-to-head and super-hot. It was my first time beating some faster ladies and realising that I could race at the top. I also happened to be a tiny bit pregnant.”
On catching Lucy Buckingham in the last kilometre to take the win at Clash Daytona in 2021: “I thought, ‘Ah, I’d better just dig in and run as fast as I can, just in case’. And luckily that worked out.”
On balancing being a pro triathlete with being a mother of two: “Triathlon is a thing that’s important to me, but having a family was something I knew I wanted for my life. And your life is so much bigger than triathlon.”
What’s next for Jackie Hering?
With wins in 2022 at both Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga and Escape From Alcatraz, there appears to be no danger of Hering hanging up her sneakers just yet.
Having never really performed to her true potential at the world championships (her best place being seventh in 2021), a world crown surely has to remain at the top of her to-do list.
Top image credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for Ironman