Special Delivery | Jaime McLaughlin

Special Delivery | Jaime McLaughlin

Jaime McLaughlin is a runner and a teacher in Chicago. In a year when teachers are working twice as hard under incredible stress, we were so excited to team up with Nike Running for very special surprise gift. We asked for his shoe sizes so he probably new that he was getting shoes but I don't think he expected a massive crate branded with his name & ours with ALL THREE of the fast pack shoes in bright mango: Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, ZoomX Vaporfly Next%, and Air Zoom Tempo Next%! The "Mango Pack" was set to release for the 2020 Chicago Marathon (until the pandemic changed everything) so, it felt good to send some Chicagoans a big something to brighten the year. Here's our chat with Jaime:

Dan Fitzgerald, Heartbreak: First, what grade(s) do you teach? How have kids adapted?

Jaime: I teach 6th and 7th grade Math at Wadsworth STEM on Chicago’s southside. This is the most unique year of teaching, to say the least, but my students have adapted to remote learning and taken this pandemic in stride. Establishing daily routines and staying consistent enables kids to be successful. Also, becoming a part time virtual standup comedian to tweens also eases the daily stress!

D: For teachers, you're frontline workers, filling in gaps of care in the lives of kids, being an emotional support, and at the same time, redesigning the way that you teach kids all while actually trying to teach kids. Can you shed some light on that and how your school is a part of its community?

J: I think the emotional support is the most trying part of teaching in this climate. Trying to peel the layers of stress and fatigue kids are going through is a job in itself, but that shows the purpose of teaching is far from just school supplies and textbooks. Families are more than ever appreciative of our efforts as teachers in our community as they lean on us in providing students a positive and enriching experience in a virtual capacity.

D: How are you holding up?

J: Fine, Chicago teachers are resilient. This is part of the job, we adapt and move on. My awesome partner, Karla, is a middle school teacher as well so we lean on each other during these times, share our experiences and create new ways to keep students engaged and positive.

D: How has running been a part of your life this year?

J: It is my daily mental therapy. Running is my release that gets me out of my chair after sitting for hours talking and allows me to put the day in perspective and move on. The balance running provides, mentally, physically and emotionally, is tremendous and perfect for these times that we are in.

D: How did you hear about the Heartbreak?

J: Luc Larsen. He was one of the Chicago NRC coaches when I started running 5 years ago and was a constant presence of encouragement in my running goals and I followed him to Heartbreak. Heartbreak is that place where everyone is welcomed. The camaraderie and team spirit that you established in Boston, Luc has grabbed the torched and created that same atmosphere in Chicago. Heartbreak has been phenomenal in taking my running to a new level with the virtual speed runs and training plans this year. I’ve been to a couple of the speed runs this Fall, but I can’t wait to get back in the routine of weekly speed runs and the Saturday long run at Heartbreak Chicago when this is all over!

D: Let's talk about the "crate"? What are you going to do with these?

J: It is awesome, thank you so much! I could never have imagined receiving something from Heartbreak and Nike at this level, so much appreciation and gratitude for both. At this point, it is the focal point of my man cave, but I will run in a different pair for races in 2021 then return them back to the crate.

D: What's your big running goal for 2021?

J: Chicago. I have always ran halves and joining Heartbreak at mile 20 last year inspired me to set Chicago to be my first marathon. I didn’t run the virtual race in October because I want the real Chicago experience, so I deferred to 2021. I plan to use the Mango Vaporfly and go for a Boston qualifying time now that I moved into the 50-54 group.