Athletics News

How they train: Jack Turner

How they train: Jack Turner

We speak to a combined eventer about learning to move on from disappointment, changing his approach and targeting Paris

There’s a commentary that replays in Jack Turner’s mind when the going gets tough. He’d prefer it not to exist, but its presence – an excruciating reminder of a disappointing British Championships in June 2022 – serves a valuable purpose.

“2022 was just a mess,” he reflects, almost laughing in disbelief at his experience.

Turner, representing the University of Texas at San Antonio at the time, had completed his first senior decathlon in May 2021 but ended up with three bulging discs in his back. It was a harsh return for ten hard disciplines and 7659 points, and an injury that led to him questioning his future in the event. Appendicitis at the end of that year resulted in his appendix being removed, another significant set-back on his lengthy road to recovery.

Not surprisingly, Turner’s early season attempt at hitting the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard of 7750 fell short. Still “scrambling around” for the score, he returned to the UK for the British Championships under-prepared and paid the price as he fell apart in the 1500m: “I went from first to third, no-one expected it… and everyone saw it,” he says. “I didn’t have a summer after that, it was just so bad.”

Ashley Bryant, a supportive figure throughout Turner’s career, helped him turn things around: “He said to me: ‘You’ve just got to get fit’, so I spent that whole summer, the whole fall, just training and building. Every running workout I did I had that brutal commentary from the British Champs in my head. I thought: ‘I’m never losing in a 1500m again, it’s not happening’. It was a pretty traumatic year, but it was such a wake-up call. Without it, I don’t think I’d have scored 8000. It was probably the most important year of my whole career so far.”

Eleven months later (May 2023), Turner became the seventh British man to exceed the 8000-point barrier with a score of 8011 at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships. “It made me learn about what hard work really is,” he says.

Jack Turner (Getty)

Now a University of Arkansas ‘Razorback’ and completing a Master’s degree in operations management, Turner is excelling under the guidance of coach Travis Geopfert. He scored a stunning 6000 points in his first heptathlon of the 2024 indoor season to win the Razorback Invitational in January, only the second…

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