Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Jessica Judd (August 2016)

Jess Judd (Born 7/1/1995) has young sister Jodie Judd, who is also a good runner. Jess had been studying Human Biology at Loughborough University.
Jessica Judd was or is, easily noticeable on the track, as a middle distance runner with a tall slim frame, fluent style and flowing long hair.
One might add has, at the time of writing this, already shown great potential as an 800/1500 runner.

On what one might say was an impressive comeback race as a ‘Renaissance runner’ as an outright winner, when she took the English & CAU 1500 titles at Bedford on 31/7/16. That immediately prompted her Essex Team Manger, John Stow, once a good middle distance runner himself, to say “That will give Jess a lot of confidence, the way she won that race’ (Jess Judd (Chelmsford) 4:16.49; 2 Jacqueline Fairchild (Trafford) 4:18.94;Gemma Holloway (Thurrock Under 20) 4:21.99).

Jess comes in “My running has been OK but in the English Championships I felt really, really, good because I had a bad run at the Cross (11th in the National). I think it is because I am destined to do good things on the track!”

Previous Lead coaches for her were Jeremy Freeman, Rob Denmark, and (The 5k Commonwealth Champion of 1994); and more recently under the wing of George Gandy of Loughborough but it were obvious who has had the most influence on her life in athletics

“At the start my Dad Mick Judd. He used to do lots of marathons and things like that and, I went along and did a ‘Fun Run’ and won it. I was 10 years old and everyone said I should join an athletics club. It has just gone from there.’
‘First of all it was Thurrock Harriers. It has got a really good history. I loved it there. It was a really good club. I was getting older and in the group there was not the people to train with so, when I was 15, I went to Chelmsford AC then carried on running’

However, she won the Aviva English Schools 1500 gold and English schools cross country gold. Amongst other things Jess Judd did was win the Virgin Mini Marathon 3 miles in 15:38 in 2011 also, she was 3rd in the IAAF Youth Games 800m.
Perhaps above all the race that stands out, was winning the European Team Championships at Gateshead, out of 12 countries competing in the event
(800- 1 Jess Judd (GB) 2:00.82; 2 Ekaterina (Russia) 2:00.86; 3 Olha Lyakhova (Ukraine) 2:02.30).

About that breakthrough, as a pure winner in international competitions the European team Championship was a breakthrough for her.
“I will never forget that race. When I crossed the line I saw my Dad celebrating. I’ll never forget that. It was really special.’
‘Even though she was only 18 it must have given her confidence to know she could do that sometime in the future again?
‘I think I made a jump before my body was ready. In that Winter I got injured a lot and I think, I just made such a jump and my body was not prepared for it.
‘However, even though she was only 18 then, it must have given her the confidence to know she could run well again when she was older?
‘I think so, I want to get back to that as I had only been 18 at the time and it was so special and so raw I think. Next year I want to get back to that level. Even if I don’t, how many 18 year olds have done something like that?  I will always remember.’
‘I will be 22 next year. The World Champs are next year!

There were some other fast runs by Jess Judd, one should not ignore. She twice ran inside 2 minutes for the 800m. 1:59.85, when winning the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix, at Birmingham in June 2013 and even faster coming when 3rd in the Diamond League in Oslo on 11th of June 2014 with a time of1:50.77. Her fastest time to date for 1500 was her 2nd palce in the British Miler Club ‘A’ race at Watford on the 27th of June 2015

‘Those last 2 seasons since I went to Loughborough, I have not really trained hard enough at something I was always good at, so I could kill myself and absolutely destroy myself and move on from it although, I did not play it safe. I have not pushed as hard as I can. My body is quite good, that it allows me to do that.’
‘I am back with my Dad. I feel I need more of the speedy stuff, rather than endurance, but everything happens for a reason and I am in a better place now to what I need going ahead and, I am really excited by the future’

One must not forget Jess Judd is a good cross country runner .That shows from some of her results
‘I did not make the Under 23 team last year but would like to do that at the end of the year’
Back in 2014 Jess Judd was 2nd in the Under 20 Europeans cross country championships at Samokov, Bulgaria
(1st Ermine Hatun Tuna (Turkey) 14:13; 2 Jess Judd (GB) 14:18; Other UK runners in the winning team 3 Lydia Turner, 5 Amy Griffith and 8 Rebecca Straw). “I went to the European Championships 2 years before and did rubbish. I just got the last team place in the Under 20’s. I remember thinking I wanted to be leading the team out, to do that two years later was amazing. I want to do that if I can at the end of this year knowing I had done it before!”
I expect she must think how great it is that Jo Pavey to have been in five Olympics?
“I bought her book yesterday and I am so inspired by it. Something you can relate to.
If you are a runner you never stop!”.’

Alastair Aitken

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