Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Jessica Tappin (August 2015)

International Heptathlete, Jessica Tappin (Born 17/5/90), first competed in the 400hurdles on August 16th in 2014 so, it was with some surprise that, in barely a year she won the England AAA’s and CAU Inter-Counties titles.
On August the 2nd 2015 she ran in lane 5 in the final, winning in a personal best time of 58.1, after coming second in her heat in 58.69 behind Hayley McLean, who ran 58.53. The First three in the final were Jessica Tappin 58.13; Jessica Turner 58.43; and Hayley McLean 58.48.
        Although obviously good looking, I remarked to her that she had quite powerful shoulders, which she had acquired doing her multi-events.
Straight after her final at Bedford she said to me “I feel a bit worn out now. I was tying up at the end’
However, she did remark then
‘I did not really know what to expect, as I only did 3 races over the 400 hurdles towards the end of last year’s season but I thought ‘Why not do it. I am not injured’ (In actual fact she did do just one hurdle race since last year only, at Tooting Bec in the Open Meeting in July, in which she recorded 58.60).
She was delighted with her result at Bedford as she said “I was so pleased to win the Championship over the 400 hurdles. I am ecstatic.”
I wondered if she would turn to the 400 hurdles in the future.
           ‘Maybe, it is a completely different event. The camaraderie with the heptathletes is fantastic, rather than with an individual event, as you make so many friends with the heptathlon.”
Going back to her actual start in the sport “I did every sport when I started, around the time I was 8 or 9 at school, just for fun. It was not till my third year at Loughborough University where I met my first coach Emily Parker. She was brilliant but, finished her job with British Athletics.’
‘I ended up looking for another and Julie Hollman coaches me and she is fantastic.’
Besides other events Jessica was doing the heptahlon as an ’under 17’ in 2006.
It was in 2013 she won the English Athletics Senior (& U20) Championships Combined event, at Bedford that year with 5676 points, and then, her best mark came in 2014 in June, winning in the Compeonato De Andalucia De Pruebas Combinades, in Malaga Spain was 5770.
What then was the one event she was most delighted about?

“The Commonwealth Games 100%. I came sixth in he heptathlon for England’ (13.51; 1.69;11.92; 24.74; 5.46/0.8; 36.91; 2:11.65). The winner was Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada with 6597.
‘I keep going over it in my head and it gives one massive confidence. Coming back this season (2015) was quite difficult. I don’t know why it should be. Maybe it is because you have not got the crowd with you. Maybe you feel there is more pressure. The season has not gone as well as I wanted. A couple of injuries but reliving that moment in Glasgow, that motivated me in itself.”
I thought injuries, after doing so well, must make you want to come back that much more.
“It is depressing when you are injured. The year before I got knocked off my bicycle and was out for six months. I did bike sessions. Every time I would imagine, after coming down the home straight at the end of the 800 and thinking Glasgow! Glasgow is my target.”

Alastair Aitken

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