Athletics News

Jess Warner-Judd is a runner.

Jess Warner-Judd is a runner.

This is Stuart Weir’s first part of the interview with Jess Warner-Judd, one of the most enduring and competitive middle-distance and long-distance runners on Team GB. 

Jess Warner-Judd is a runner. 

Jess Warner-Judd is a runner. She ran in the 800m in the 2013 World Championships, 2014 Commonwealth Games and European Championships, 1500m in the 2017 World Championships, The Fifth Avenue mile in 2017, various 3000m races, 5000m in the 2021 Olympics and 2022 World Championships, 10000m in the World Championships on 2022 and 2023, and the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a10K road-race in 2024, two half marathons not to mention the 2023 European Cross Country Championship. She is planning a Marathon next year. She said, with a laugh: “If I could do like world champs in all the distances, that would be pretty cool.” I think she likes running!

The British Women ‘s 5000m, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics.

It is all her dad’s fault! When she was growing up, he used to do 10Ks half marathons and then marathons. There was often a little fun run before the main thing for kids, and Jess used to go along and run in the fun run. I asked her when she realized it could be more than just for fun. She replied: “I’d say I probably didn’t realize it, but the people around me realized it quickly. I think it was when I was 10 and went to an Essex Cross Country League race, and we missed the under 13 girls’ race, so they put me in the under 15s, and I came round in 5th place.” A coach from the Thurrock Harriers club was watching and invited her to come and join the club. She recalls, “People then started to make a bit of noise and think that I might be alright, but I was just enjoying it. At that age, I never really thought about being good at it. I just enjoyed the feeling, so I just did it”.

In terms of her career, it was trying different events and seeing what seemed to suit her: “When I was an 800m runner, I definitely didn’t think I was going to keep going to the 10K and even possibly the marathon. I got nervous before the races and found the 800 was too short. I get so nervous about it, and it all comes down to positioning. I haven’t got that raw speed – like, I think I’m fast, but I watch someone like Keely Hodgkinson, and I would never be able to compete with her at all over 400. I decided I didn’t like having to front-run 800 all the time. I knew I had to try and run a 59 first lap and keep it going. That was the only way I…

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