August/September Athletes of the Month: Manon Blackman and Patrick Johnson

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Manon Blackman

Growing up in a family of runners, Manon Blackman didn’t want to be a follower and was averse to the idea of running. However, come high school, “cross country and track drew me in and I couldn’t stay away. I fell in love,” Blackman says. Although she didn’t run competitively in college, she remained active through the Northwestern University triathlon team, who she now considers her endurance family. Now, she does compete competitively with her team, and runs extra races of her choice on the side too. This year at the Boston Marathon, Blackman finished with an impressive time of 3:01:18, which now is her marathon PR. She also achieved her half marathon PR this year at the F^3 Lake Half Marathon in January with a time of 1:28:31. Triathlon-wise, her best time was at the 2016 Grand Rapids Triathlon, coming in at 2:30:33.

Patrick Jackson

After graduating from Marquette University in 2010, Jackson took his competitive swimming background from his childhood and put it into triathlon training. Although it started as a way to stay in shape after college, Jackson was hooked after this race, and immediately upgraded his old Miyata bike to start training for more. Since then, he has completed two Ironmans, along with countless half Ironmans, sprint and Olympic distance races. At this year’s Elkhart Lake Olympic, Jackson took first, and he took second at the Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon this June where he got his Olympic PR of 2:04:44. His current Ironman PR is 10:22:42 from the 2016 Wisconsin race.  He hopes to qualify for the 2018 World Championships in Australia after racing USAT nationals in Sprint and Olympic distances this August. “I have enjoyed the competitiveness and friends I have met over the years competing in triathlons,” Jackson says.

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.

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