24 January 2022

Six Months To Rio: Athlete Jess Judd

February 9, 2016

It seems like yesterday that we enjoyed a home Olympics, but with less than six months until the Rio Olympics kick off – time is ticking for the athletes hoping to go for gold! Sacha Shipway spoke to Jess Judd about her Olympic endeavours and what the countdown means.


Jess Judd is a middle-distance runner who specialises in the 800 metres and cross-country. She won a bronze medal at the 2011 World Youth Championships and a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Next step? Rio.

With six months until the Olympics how are you feeling about everything?

Really good thanks – I’m really enjoying training and everything is going well so I’m taking it one day at a time and seeing what happens. It’s nice to have a goal in sight with it being six months to go, but I’m in such heavy training that I’ve not really had a chance to think about it. I’m really enjoying my cross-country season, which is completely different to what I do in the summer – so I’ve got to wait and see.

Do you think that the World Champs and other competitions have prepared you for your first Olympics?

I guess the basis is the same but my weaknesses from the Champs last year have steered my training this year – I’m working really hard and everything seems to be going in the right direction. I’m not sure what to expect really, the trials are a bit earlier and there are a lot of different procedures in place – for example the qualifying times are different. So, although it’s good to have different experiences, I’ve got to be prepared for something totally different – it’s exciting and it’s something that my coach and I have worked really hard on this year.

Click HERE to watch the video of Paula Radcliffe and Jess discussing the build-up to Rio


When are the trials?

They’re at the end of June, which is quite early in terms of our athletics season, so you have to come out and run really fast quite early on. I’m going to be doing altitude training at the end of March in Colorado so that will probably be where I start all of my track stuff. There are about 13 other people from Loughborough going so that will be really nice – I train with the boys all the time so it will be like being in Loughborough but with the benefit of being at altitude.

Until then I’m focusing on the cross country season and getting stronger and more robust with better endurance. It is quite early for an athletics season but I guess you can’t change the dates and you’ve just got to work with it.

Speaking of Loughborough, how do you balance being a student and an athlete?

It’s difficult; I really struggled with it last year but this year I’m really happy with how it’s going. I have a good base, which I share with my friends and my boyfriend and they really keep me on target. If I ever get stressed or training doesn’t go very well then they’re always there to pick me up, which makes it so much easier.

Everyone’s in the same position as well, Loughborough is a sport Uni so if you go to lectures and people are tired because of training, it makes you feel a lot better. I love it there and they have been fantastic in helping me. I can’t wait to see where the season will go!

Who inspires you?

I talk to Paula Radcliffe and she’ll message me occasionally to check everything is going well. It’s so nice to have someone who’s been there and done it all. She’s such a great athelete so it’s nice to have her talking to me. It’s also nice to have someone like my dad, he coaches me and my sister runs as well and we go to races together; my whole family set-up is running-oriented which makes me enjoy it more because everyone I know is doing it.

Jess is supported by the Sky Academy Sports Scholarship scheme, helping young athletes fulfill their potential on the international stage and achieve their goals for Rio 2016: skysports.com/scholarships

Sacha Shipway, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine



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