Liberty Ledger

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A New Meaning of GO!

A look at Mrs. Hall's strenuous journey to the finish line

Jackie+Pirtle-Hall%2C+moments+after+the+race+showing+off+her+finishing+medal.+All+smiles+knowing+she+qualified+for+the+Olympic+trials+on+April+8+at+the+GO%21+Marathon.+
Jackie Pirtle-Hall, moments after the race showing off her finishing medal. All smiles knowing she qualified for the Olympic trials on April 8 at the GO! Marathon.

Jackie Pirtle-Hall, moments after the race showing off her finishing medal. All smiles knowing she qualified for the Olympic trials on April 8 at the GO! Marathon.

Jerry Pirtle

Jerry Pirtle

Jackie Pirtle-Hall, moments after the race showing off her finishing medal. All smiles knowing she qualified for the Olympic trials on April 8 at the GO! Marathon.

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“The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee

In life, we often fall. We encounter certain obstacles that can result in loss of hope or the raging urge to want to give up. There will be moments when we must face ourselves and the type of person we are. It doesn’t matter how you fell or even how hard but, how did you manage to get back up?

Jackie Pirtle-Hall is a three-time St. Louis GO Marathon winner, holding the record for fastest time with a course record 2 hours and 42 minutes.

She took first in the race crossing the finish line at 2:44, which was a couple of minutes below the qualification time needed for the Olympic Trials. Back in 2012 Hall had qualified for the Olympic Trials for the first time, and ever since then she has been more determined than ever to be the best runner she can be.

With her impressive record, ability to take on a 26.2 mile run and qualification for the Olympic Trials, it’s easy to think of her as some sort of ‘super human’. But she’s just like you.

As for those of you who are trying to maintain the life of a student-athlete or do multiple things at once, Hall can definitely relate. She has two children, Samantha (9) and Gwyneth (4), and teaches English at Liberty. While balancing the life of being mom, teacher and runner, she can face many challenges.

Through her journey of learning how to make each role work, she’s managed to overcome some tough decisions.

Recently, during spring break, Hall was diagnosed with shingles. Not only was it painful and physically draining, but she developed it just one week before the GO marathon, which she had been training extremely hard for.

“Early on in the sickness it was more of an outer uncomfortable feeling and I thought okay I can deal with this,” Hall said. “But then it started affecting the nerve in my legs and it was hard to move. I had to go through this sort of grieving process for my race, and at this point I didn’t have a choice.”

After coming to terms with the fact that she wouldn’t be able to run, HalI had to accept this unfortunate loss by reminding herself that there will be other races and life will go on.

Hall was in severe pain the weekend before the race. However, she tried some extreme self care by drinking beet juice, eating healthy foods while avoiding others and tried to get as much rest as she could. Days leading up to the race she started to show minor improvement.  

“In the back of my mind I thought, I’m going to try to heal as soon as possible, with remedies and extreme self care,” she said. “Thursday there was no decision, but Friday I woke up and my body felt a lot better, so there was hope.”  

Hall made the final decision to run Friday with support from her husband Mr. Hall and coach Mr. Webster, who are teachers at Liberty too.  

“Once I made the decision, it was done,” Mrs. Hall said. “There was no negotiating. I turned my phone off and got my mind to focus so I could get the job done, I said to myself I’m going to run this race, and that’s final.”

Hall said she had to be OK with the thought of failing and she realized there would be much risk involved. As she felt much better the morning of the race, she knew she was making the right decision regardless of the outcome.

“I didn’t want to sit and watch from the sidelines. I wanted to participate in life. Not everything is going to play out perfectly, but you must make the most of it.”

Overall, she was not only pleased with her decision, but the outcome happened to be much better than expected.

Hall was given a race, a day and a lesson to remember forever. She had her very proud parents, Jerry and Beth alongside, waiting at the finish line to congratulate her. As well as the one and only Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee patting her on the back for her well-deserved victory.  

Husband, Mr.Hall was anxious to know how she was doing throughout the race, when finally she came running past the four-mile mark and gave her husband a thumbs up with a smile, which gave him much comfort.  

“I knew that she was going to have a good day,” Mr. Hall said. “She was focused and ready to go before the race.”

Not only did Mrs. Hall succeed by overcoming the battle with herself of trying to push through it, but she did have a competitor that challenged her for the lead in the race, and that definitely pushed her to her limits.

“I did not show up here to get beat,” Mrs. Hall said.  

When Mrs. Hall crossed the finish line, she took a brief moment to collect herself and immediately ran to see Mr. Hall and celebrate the win. She cried, “I’m so happy, I’m so happy.”

Looking back, Mrs. Hall knows she made the right decision by running the race and not letting emotions take over her mind.

“Oh my gosh, I really stepped up and I was really proud of myself for that. It became more than just running. It was scary and I had to be scared in hopes that my body would work. With it, comes ups and downs but that’s what makes it sweet because you stop and think, ‘woah, look I did it.“ Mrs. Hall said. “Our mind places so many limits and if we could just put the emotion aside sometimes and take a deep breath and just show up, just show up, we could do amazing things.”

Moments like these are what makes the hardships worth it all. So next time you fall, it won’t matter how, or even how hard. But, how did you manage to get back up?

6 Comments

6 Responses to “A New Meaning of GO!”

  1. adviser on April 16th, 2018 3:55 pm

    Thank you Mia Arnone for writing this story! You have a talent at taking an hour conversation to create a clear, concise, powerful story, and I am honored to be the topic of your report!
    -Mrs. Hall

    [Reply]

  2. Jerry Pirtle on April 16th, 2018 7:19 pm

    Mia, you are such a good writer. Your article made me really feel the emotions involved in Mrs. Hall’s accomplishment. I know she was so happy and wanted so much to share this with her Liberty student body. She is such a powerful role model for her school. Again, great job Mia.

    [Reply]

  3. Carol Hall on April 16th, 2018 7:37 pm

    Mia, you’re an amazing writer. You should be extremely proud of your article. Mrs. Hall is a good teacher in more ways than one. You captured the life lessons that she teaches us all—dedication, hard work and never giving up. Way to go, Mia!

    [Reply]

  4. Caleb Woods on April 17th, 2018 7:54 am

    Great article Mia! Loved the article.

    [Reply]

  5. Beth on May 4th, 2018 5:52 pm

    Well written! Wonderful story.

    [Reply]

  6. Christie Hickerson on May 4th, 2018 9:45 pm

    Wow Mia! I am so impressed with your journalistic talent! I second all the other comments here, and I hope you are considering a career in this direction.

    And of course Mrs. Hall- such an inspiration to us all!:)

    [Reply]

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