3 November 2014
Vale Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher)
The Australian sporting community was saddened today by the tragic news
of the passing over the weekend of 46-year-old Jackie Fairweather, a former world champion triathlete,
Commonwealth games marathon medallist and leading sports administrator, firstly
with triathlon and more recently with the Australian Sports Commission and Australian
Institute of Sport.
Jacquilyn Louise Gallagher was born on 10th November 1967 in Perth and
it was not long before she was involved in sport as a little athlete in 1979
while living in Sydney. During these early years she was coached by Stan Hamley
(Hornsby little athletics) and Con Hartgers. She had early success when in
December 1984 at the Australian All Schools, she placed third in the under-19
3000m in an impressive time of 10:11.63. She relocated to Brisbane in the mid '80s
and within a few years (now aged 21) was running times of 4:26 (1500m), 9:25
(3000m) and 36:14 (10,000m). She was also a talented cross country runner,
winning numerous national medals.
Away from the track, she was busy completing her studies, earning a Bachelor
of Human Movement Studies (First Class Honours) from University of Qld in 1990
and the next year while in the USA with a Master of Science (Exercise
Physiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation) from Eastern Illinios University.
A national level cyclist , while in the US she had been working on her
swimming. In 1992, Brett Sutton, a leading triathlon coach on the Gold Coast
pestered Gallagher to leave Brisbane to traing with his squad. She eventually
relented and joined Sutton and trained along side Rina Hill. Her professional triathlon
career would last until 2000. Ironically although she was now concentrating on
triathlon, her running, under Sutton, started to flourish. In July 1992, she
ran 1:14.38 in a half-marathon, then in December she won her first triathlon
race in Canberra and four days later she won the Zatopek 10,000m track race in
a sensational 33:14.16. During 1992 she had competed in a staggering 42 races. In
early 1993 she made her first national team representing Australia at the 1993 World
Cross Country Championships in Spain.
Over the next eight years Jackie complied a superb triathlon career
record, which included representing Australia at eight World Triathlon
Championships (winning one gold and three silvers). In 1996 she become the only
person to win the World Triathlon and Duathlon titles in the one year. She won two
World duathlon titles (1996 & 1999), four National triathlon titles (2
Olympic distance, 2 sprint), three national duathlon titles and four Australian
Triathlete of the year awards.
In 1996 she was jointly named with Susie
O'Neill as the Australian Sportswoman of the year.
In 2000 she missed selection in the triathlon for the Sydney Olympics. There were five Australian world champions
chasing three places. Gallagher trained the house down in the leadup to trials,
but pushed it too much and was run down at the trials, placing seventh, one of
her lowest places in nearly 100 races. She was devestated and would later rate this as her ‘lowest personal sporting
moment’. She was not in Sydney for the Olympics, but working in an elite gym in
California, a place she spent most of the Australian winters.
She then retired from triathlon and remerged in athletics winning the
Australian half-marathon title in August 2001, placing sixth in Zatopek in
December and make her marathon debut in Boston in 2002 a stunning 2:35.46.
After nearly 10 years she returned to the national athletics team when she was
named in the marathon for the 2002
Commonwealth Games, in a team which was co-managed by Matt Favier, who 10 years later would be her boss at the AIS. In Manchester,
Jackie claimed bronze in an Australian clean-sweep of the medals.
Under the guidance of coach Dick
Telford, over the next few years she ran eight marathons, no slower than
2:37.16, but with a best of 2:32.40 in Nagoya in March 2004.
Her endurance interests next moved to mountain and ultra running. She
competed at the 2005 world mountain running championships, where she placed 12th.
In 2008 and 2009 she won the Australian Ultra Running titles over distances of
50km and 100km respectively in times of 3:19.12 and 7:48.51.
Wikipedia reported that on 21 March 2010,
Jackie ran her 100,000th kilometre. She has recorded over 100,000 kilometres
covered on a bicycle and had swum over 9000 kilometers. This was data that
Gallagher had complied herself, as she had recorded every training session she
ever did, commencing in the early ‘80s. She described herself as a ‘stats girl’.
During her triathlon career, Fairweather, held numerous postions in
administration, including: Triathlon Australia national elite selector, athlete
representative International Triathlon Union (ITU) Athletes Committee (1998-2002),
ITU Women’s Committee member (1997-98), Triathlon Australia Board Member (first
ever athletes representative) (1998 – 2001) and various positions on triathlon
and running club committees since 1988.
In 2001, she was appointed the inaugural AIS triathlon head coach a positions
she would hold until 2005. She continued to give back to her sport and in
recent years she held the position of Performance Manager in the AIS
Performance Excellence Unit, where her sports portfolio included: swimming (para swimming), canoeing – sprint
& slalom (para canoe), surf lifesaving and netball. She had previouly
worked with athletics.
In 2004, she married Sydney Olympic archer, Simon Fairweather and recently celebreated 10 years of marriage.
Gallagher had a passion for fast cars and owned a 1979 Porsche 911 named
Priscilla. Her hobbies and interests included watching movies, travelling and
meeting people, collecting gadgets, good red wine, public speaking, chocolate, working
with younger athletes and funnily enough... driving fast cars!
A superstition was to eat ice-cream the night before a race.
She had nicknames Jackie G and Cracker and a role model was Rob de Castella and anyone who has really given their all. Fairweather was a perfectionist
and would say ‘I hate stuffing up.’
Today, Gallagher’s facebook was full of tributes from many
friends, colleagues and competitors, including: Eloise Wellings, Melinda
Vernon, Spot Anderson, Jessica Trengrove, Scott Imhoff, Maureen Cummings, Susan
Hobson, Kate Smyth and Shaun Creighton.
Emma Snowsill wrote:
‘You shared and cared in your knowledge and passion for our sport more
than anyone Jackie Fairweather Not only a hero for your athletic abilities but
your generosity to help many up and coming athletes to pave a way for
themselves and the future of this sport is second to none. May you Rest in
Gabrielle Harrison wrote:
‘So very sad. Not sure what happened but we had planned to catch up and I
am shattered I didn't organise it already. A beautiful person.’
Rina Hill wrote:
‘RIP the unforgettable Jackie Fairweather. So many wonderful memories,
you will be sadly missed.’
Lee Troop wrote:
‘RIP Jackie Fairweather (Gallagher). Tough as nails as a competitor but
gentle spirit. You leave a massive legacy & will never be forgotten.’
Spot Anderson wrote:
‘So sad & RIP one of Australia's greatest athletes Jackie Fairweather
- World Triathlon Champion & Marathon Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.
I remember rocking up to a 10km a bit crusty & she duly dusted me! But we
had so much fun making the runner a surf swimmer! #shattered #respect #legend #blackdog #ruok #gethelp’
Steve Moneghetti wrote:
Vale Jackie Fairweather, thanks for the chats, your performances and
subsequent contribution to distance running and Australian sport.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: 2002 Commonwealth Games marathon medallists: left to right
Krishna Stanton, Kerryn McCann and Jackie Fairweather. (image courtesy of Getty
Name: Jackie Gallagher
Date of Birth: 10/11/1967
Coaches: Dick Telford, Brett Sutton
(Triathlon), Denis Cotterill (swimming), Greg Martin, Con Hartgers and Stan
Place of Birth: Perth
3000m: '84 - (U19) 3rd
10000m: '92 - 5th, ’04 – 3rd
Marathon: ’05 - 1st
Cross Country: '87 (U20) 3rd, '88 - 5th, '94 - 4th
Half Marathon: ’01 – 1st, ’07 – 3rd
’08 – 3rd
Australian Ultra Running: ’08 – 1st, ’09 – 1st
International Championships Athletics:
Commonwealth Games: '02 - Marathon - 3rd
World Cross Country Championships: '93 - 62nd
World Mountain Running : ‘05 - 12th
Boston Marathon 2002 – 11th place 2:35.46
Nagoya International Marathon March 2004 – 9th
Triathlon Australia National Elite Selector.
Regular commentating for Triathlon and running events. Nationally and Internationally – commentary
for 2004 & 2005 ITU World Cup Series.
Extensive media experience – TV, Radio, Print, Web-based. Involvement in commentary, interviews,
interviewing, production, advising on content and independent contributions.
Wide range of experience in Public Speaking, Seminars, Conferences, Sport
Athlete representative International Triathlon Union (ITU) Athletes
ITU Women’s Committee member 1997-98
Triathlon Australia Board Member (First ever Athletes Representative)
1998 – 2001.
Member of Committee to restructure Board of Athletics Qld in 1998
Held various positions on Triathlon and running club committees since
ITU Triathlon World Championships
Gold Medal 1996
Silver Medal 1995, 1997, 1999
(Australian triathlon World Championships rep 1993-2000 = eight
ITU Duathlon World Championships
Gold Medal 1996 & 1999
Bronze Medal 1994
(Confederation of Australian Sport) Sports Woman of the Year - 1996
Australian Triathlete of the Year - 1993 & 1996
Bachelor of Human Movement Studies (First Class Honours) – University of
Master of Science (Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation) –
Eastern Illinios University 1991