• 01 Team
  • 02 Verna
  • 03 Tony
  • 04 Tony Jackson #28

Tony Jackson

Stories about our iron-willed friend, Tony Jackson…

The 29th New Zealand Ironman marked the end of an era. It was the first NZ Ironman watched by Tony Jackson on television instead of live from the saddle.

Ironman has retired the #28 race number in honour of Tony’s 28 consecutive finishes. An amazing feat.

It seems fitting that we – his large, worldwide network of friends – honour Tony’s achievement here.

PHOTOS & STORIES: If you have some photos of or stories about Tony you’d like to share, please email to 28@evolve.co.nz and we’ll selectively add them here.


Tony Jackson
Tony Jackson

Holy crap Batman, that cuppa's as big as his heart!
Holy crap Batman, that cuppa’s as big as his heart!


Tony & Verna on their wedding day

Tony & Verna
Tony & Verna

Tony & Verna Cook-Jackson Ironman caricature
Yep, Tony & Verna again!

Tony racing [somewhere] in 1999
Tony racing [somewhere] in 1999

Colville Classic 2007
Colville Classic 2007. Notice how Tony managed to get the other two men onto the outer fringes so he could have the ladies to himself!

Ruapehu Cycle Classic 2008
Ruapehu Cycle Classic 2008

Tony & Verna with a few of the OWR crew
Tony & Verna with a few of the OWR crew

The OWR last run before Christmas every year is always a fun-filled pub run
The last OWR run before Christmas every year is always a fun-filled pub run

The OWR crew chip in to help paint number 8
May 2007 and the OWR crew chip in to help get Dubai Mike’s house in order before he departs. The makeover day was awesome, as was the drunken after-party!

Tony sheltering from the Spanish sun!
Sheltering from the Spanish sun

Widget's Thomas was a very lucky boy to have Tony as his guide on his first ever trip to MOTAT.
Widget’s Thomas was a very lucky boy to have Tony as his guide on his first ever trip to MOTAT in 2011. It’s not clear who was more exited to go on the tram and see the airplanes though!

Always one for the ladies, #1
Always one for the ladies, #1

Always one for the ladies, #2
Always one for the ladies, #2

Always one for the ladies, #3
Always one for the ladies, #3

And his mates too
And his mates too

Tony's man cave - Ironman style
Tony’s man cave – Ironman style

With Dubai Mike at Ironman
With Dubai Mike at Ironman

With some Ironmates in Taupo. What a fine looking man.
With some Ironmates in 2006 prior to the St Heliers to Tamaki Yacht Club swim. In the lineup are Merle, Barney, Verna, Mattie, Tony and Marco. What a fine looking man Mr J is.

Tony & Verna emerging from the swim at Ironman 2008
Tony & Verna emerging from the swim at Ironman 2008. Tony is on chemo and radiotherapy after being told he had 3 months to live. He is clearly saying, “fingers up to brain tumours, it’s business as usual”.

Verna supporting Tony all the way
Verna supporting Tony all the way

Nothing is impossible to the willing mind
Nothing is impossible to the willing mind

Just one more bite, I've only got the tail to go
Four years later at Ironman 2012… “Just one more bite, I’ve only got the tail to go!”

Tony Jackson 2012 - Still an ironman support crew virgin
2012… and Tony is still an Ironman support crew virgin!

An explanation about biking from Mr J himself
2012 was the year Saturday’s Ironman was cancelled due to a weather bomb, replaced with a half-Ironman on Sunday. Everyone was sitting around feeling a bit lost on Saturday, so Tony decided to eat the cheese & marmite sammies he had prepared for his bike leg… but said he felt strange eating them standing up so “got on his bike” to eat them! LOL

Racing for Tony & Verna
2013… Verna’s 4 athletes dedicated their Ironman as follows:
RACING FOR TONY AND VERNA
Andrew Slater 370
Glenn Farnham 515
Charmayne Johnstone 1404
Peter Forbes 1423
Andrew, Sharmayne & Peter photographed after a training swim at Mission Bay on Saturday 9 March, a week after Ironman and the day of Tony’s passing.

Tony Jackson - Ironman legend
At Tony’s funeral, Jane Patterson said the retirement of race number 28 in honour of Tony’s 28 Ironman NZ finishes was only the 2nd time Ironman has ever retired a race number. Tony Jackson – a true Ironman legend.

Tony Jackson

Measure of a Man

“The measure of a man is not determined by his show of outward strength, or the volume of his voice, or the thunder of his action.

“It is to be seen rather in terms of the strength of his inner self, in terms of the nature and depth of his commitments, the sincerity of his purpose and his willingness to continue ‘growing up’.”

– Grady E Poulard

To the ever-youthful Mr J, we’re glad you never fully grew up; you brightened our lives. Farewell – we miss you, we love you, always.