It was the first time Fort St. John’s competitive snowshoe racer competed in the World Winter Games, as she raced in the 1600 metre, 800 metre and 4X400 metre relay races.
Jakubowski earned a bronze in the 1600 metre singles race, and while she says the course was a tough one, full of steep inclines and straight away sprints, the hardest challenge for her to overcome was getting used to the thinner air density in the high altitude of the mountain region of Pyeongchang.
“The air condition was pretty hard because you’re not used to it and it gets to your chest, and boy it hurts,” she admits, “but you cough it out, and you drink lots of water and get rid of that, and by the evening you’re fine.”
She said as the competition went on, her lung capacity adjusted to the thinner air.
Another obstacle Jakubowski had to overcome was a long flight followed by a significant time change. She says it took a toll on her right off the bat, but she slowly adjusted and was good to go after a couple days in South Korea.
The snowshoe racer says competing in the relay event was also a lot of fun, but she wasn’t too keen on her position. Jakubowski says she was the first runner of the four person team, and admits it was a bit stressful having to watch her teammates run once she competed her portion. However, she said winning a gold and celebrating with her teammates was a special moment.
Jakuboswki also celebrated her birthday while competing in South Korea, racing in the 800 metre singles race on the special day. She originally finished in fifth place, but after race officials re-examined the results, it was determined that she actually finished in third place, earning her a second bronze medal.
She says the that was the icing on the cake, but maintains she was not disappointed with her original fifth place finish regardless, as her fifth place time had surpassed her previous personal best.
Before leaving on her trip, Jakubowski said that if she could bring any hardware back home, it would be a success. She says it was an emotional time to receive all three of her medals.
“When you receive a medal, there were a few of us that were just happy crying. We were so happy to get them, I didn’t believe it. It was awesome and I was just so excited.”
The emotion was shared by her coach, who Jakubowski said was overjoyed with her performance.
“Oh, she was so excited, and when she heard on the last day before we left that that I got another medal instead of the fifth place, she was even happier.”
Inspiration was a big factor for Jakubowski entering the competition. The racer admits a driving force for her was not letting down her hometown supporters,adding that she wants to spread the message that “if I can do it, anyone can do it”.
She also wants to inspire people to start living healthier lifestyles in their every day lives, a message not only important for aspiring athletes, but to everyone, especially individuals within the Peace region.
Following a stellar performance in South Korea, which Jakubowski says was one of the greatest accomplishments of her life, the athlete says the next chapter in her competitive life may involve less snow, as she wants to begin training to compete in Track and Field, specifically long-distance running.
While the racer has no plans to compete in the near future, she says she’ll begin training to start getting into shape for any upcoming track and field event.