Champion for God on the track

Senior Jackie Bedhingham discusses how her athletic sucess reflects her strong faith

Take a deep breath in, let it out. Jump twice, shake it off. High knees, slam back into blocks. Now she’s ready. Senior sprinter Jackie Bedingham has had this ritual before a race since she was 10 when she started running competitively with her brother John (‘11).
It all started one day at a lower school track and field day when both Bedinghams were complimented on their speed, and once they tried competitive running, the rest was history.
Jackie will be joining her brother next year at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where she will be running with him. Though she is nervous to face the Division one competition of the Atlantic Coast Conference, her family and faith motivate her and carry her to push herself as hard as she can.
“[John, my little sister and I] are super close, like insanely close,” said Jackie. “We warm up together, we practice together and we have a different bond than others do. It’s much stronger. I loved running with [John] in high school so its nice to get another opportunity.”
Christian Zimmerman, Minnehaha Academy track coach, saw the strong bond Jackie and John had. “She is a tremendous runner and she will continue to get better as she gets older,” Zimmerman said. “But family is really important to Jackie and I think that’s what inspired her [to attend WFU].”
Getting faster is no piece of cake. In the winter Jackie’s training schedule includes three days a week of speed workouts which can vary from 60 meter dashes to 600 meter runs, three days of weight lifting, and every day core workouts. In the summer, Jackie does track practice from Monday to Friday with meets on the weekend.

“Track is physical and mental and a ton of it is grueling training,” said Jackie. “Physically it is really hard so in that aspect I will ask God to help me give my full capacity every day and help clear my mind. I ask Him to help me give all my strength to this workout because mentally there are days where it’s just really lonely. You are training by yourself, it’s long days, long nights, it’s just not that much fun and I find myself saying just help me God get focused because I don’t do it for the moment, I do it for the bigger picture. I want to do well so I can do well in the future. And I feel like he gives me that extra boost. In every sport you want to control it, you want to control your results but it’s good to let that go and let Him take charge. It’s hard but it’s really important.”
Even though it can be difficult and hard at times, Jackie finds the joy in training, especially with a team.
“I love the training,” said Jackie. “I love the whole team aspect, how it is individual but you still need a team to do well and support each other. I love the coaches; I feel like you bond really well with them. They are some of the best relationships I have.”
With all this focus on training and putting so much effort into track, it still doesn’t change who she is as a person.
“There is more to me than running,” said Jackie. “I would never define myself by running, it’s something I do but I want to be defined as a Christian. I’m not a person to run, I’m a person to live for God. He has given you these gifts for a reason but it is not your whole life. For me it is not everything.”
Zimmerman agrees.
“She gives her results and work to God. That is first and foremost for her,” said Zimmerman.
She is also finding her way as a leader and captain.
“A lot of people look up to her because she is so good and there is a spotlight on her for that reason,” said Zimmerman. “But her work ethic really shines through along with her encouragement of others.”
One of Jackie’s main goals this year is to create a comfortable atmosphere for the whole team.
“I just want to be someone to talk to,” said Jackie. “It is clear that there is authority there and I want them to listen to me, but I want them to feel comfortable around me. I want them to think, ‘she is a leader and being a Christian example on and off the track.’”



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