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Canadian Track Athlete Nearing Completion of World Championship 10,000 Meter Race

Canadian long-distance runner Dmitri Jackson has crossed the 9,000 meter barrier and is down the homestretch in his efforts to complete the 10,000-meter race for the World Track and Field Championships in Edmonton, which officially ended two weeks ago.

A disoriented Dmitri Jackson once again runs off the track at the 400 hour mark of the men's 10,000 meters in the now-completed (for all other competitors) World Track and Field Championsips in Edmonton.

The 10,000-meter race, won by Kenya's Charles Kamathi in a time of 27:53.25, began and ended for all other competitors on Thursday, August 9, 2001. However, as Jackson continues to stride for pride on the now deserted Edmonton track after hundreds of hours, his dogged determination and lion-sized heart have won him numerous fans across the country.

"How….many more…..laps?………I…..think….I'm going to… ….throw……up….." panted the Saint John, New Brunswick native as he entered day 18 of his 10,000 meter ordeal.

Jackson's current pace has him on track to surpass his personal best in the 10,000 metres of 433:26:45.56, a scant 433 hours and change off the world record.

While pausing for a regular walk break, Jackson spoke of his love for the sport and his promise to the starry-eyed children from his Saint John neighbourhood, who see him as somewhat of a hero:


Do it for Canada, Dmitri!

"Balancing two jobs at Harvey's and Denny's doesn't leave me a lot of time to train," wheezed the 24-year old Jackson, who, as a carded Category Three athlete, is entitled to 14 dollars a month in federal funding.

"But I made a promise to little Jimmy Morgan that I was gonna finish this…..race, and come hell……or high….." Jackson was unable to complete his thought, as he began to cough and shake violently when he tried to begin running again.

Harold Faltemayer of the International Athletic Athletics Federation (IAAF) spoke of the extra steps track's governing body took to accommodate Canadian track "athletes" participating in Edmonton such as Jackson, indicating that the organization had to get new, bigger scoreboards and clocks for the Canadian contingent at the games.

Jackson warms up before the race's commencement two and a half weeks ago.

The pride of Saint John pauses for some air yesterday, just after passing the 9,000 meter mark.

CBC-television track analyst Geoff Gowan called Jackson one of the most promising distance runners to come out of Canada in the last 20 years:

"Very bright future for this courageous young man-with continued hard work and the right coaching, he could easily crack the 12 day mark.

"I just wish he'd finish sometime soon so I could go home."

For his part, Jackson is refusing to abandon his dream with the race's completion and the subsequent moral victory so close within his grasp:

"Some….people might think that I'm crazy……but, it…..doesn't matter if you're any good or not, if you follow your dreams and stay on the track long enough, you're bound to get your picture in the paper somehow."

Posted on August 24th, 2001

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