Ericka McKenna – National Race Walking Record Holder
At the tender age of 13, CCCBA Board Member Ericka McKenna (nee Ackeret) became the National Race Walking Record Holder in the 3000m Race Walk, a record that still stands today. McKenna race walked 3000m (approximately two miles) in 13 minutes and 57 seconds in the 1996 Pacific Association Junior Olympics. While McKenna no longer competes in race walking, she does still use her race-walking skills when she participates in triathlons of all distances, including the Ironman, which she has completed three times!
Race walking, while not a well-known sport in the U.S., is very popular in other parts of the world and is an Olympic sport. McKenna’s interest in race walking began in elementary school when she had a teacher who was a big proponent of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Her teacher invited nationally-ranked race walker Therese Iknoian to school to educate the students about race walking and McKenna was hooked. Soon she was training with Ms. Iknoian and her coach, Ron Daniel, after school and getting up at 5 am every morning to race walk while her mother ran beside her. That’s a very impressive commitment for a middle school girl! Within a year of starting out McKenna was traveling around the country competing in Junior Nationals and in 8th grade she set her national record.
She stopped race walking in high school, but took up running when she entered law school as a way to stay in shape and reduce stress. After passing the bar and moving to Contra Costa, she joined a local running team that decided to participate in a triathlon and McKenna found a new passion. McKenna is a strong swimmer, having been on swim teams for years as a kid and in college, so combining that with her love of race walking made the triathlon a natural progression in her athletic development.
McKenna is a member of the Tri Valley Triathlon Club and in 2012 completed her first Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The next year she completed Ironman Lake Tahoe, 2014 found her at Ironman Australia and in 2015 she was all set to compete in Ironman Maryland when a hurricane hit and the event was cancelled. In fact, her teammates say that she is cursed because each Ironman she participated in has had some kind of extreme weather, be it snow in September or rain for the entire 15 hour duration! Nevertheless she persisted and completed all three. McKenna took a brief break from participating in triathlons during her pregnancy, but now that she is five months postpartum, she has started training again and has signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon in August. Her husband and daughter will be out there cheering her on! McKenna has also used her athletic skills to benefit the community. She helps to organize triathlons for kids in conjunction with USA Triathlon, encouraging the next generation of athletes. The social aspect of training and the workout are the things she loves best about being a member of the Tri Club. While many people participate in endurance events because of the element of competition, she isn’t there to compete with others or even herself. She encourages anyone else interested in running, biking, triathlons or any sport to join a club or find a local group and get started. Who knows, maybe you’ll set a national record too!
Ericka McKenna is a transactional business law attorney at Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP in Walnut Creek, whose practice includes general corporate counsel, business succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, entity formation and operation, reorganizations and general commercial transactions. McKenna is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.