Naracoorte, South Australia
A two-time Commonwealth Games medallist and two-time Olympian, Jessica Stenson (nee Trengove) is one of Australia’s greatest ever performers over the marathon.
Playing multiple sports as a junior, Jess didn’t truly take to elite distance running until her early twenties. Jess’ rise to the top began when she won Adelaide’s City-Bay Fun Run in 2010 before conquering the Australian Cross-Country Championships, the Melbourne Half Marathon and Sydney’s iconic City2Surf in the following years.
These performances lead her to Japan where she ran 2.31.02, a full minute under the A-Qualifying standard securing her spot on the Australian Olympic bound for the 2012 London Olympics. In London, running just her second ever marathon, Jess clocked 2.31.17 to finish in 39th place. Jess’ impressive progression continued at the 2013 World Championships, placing 11th before she a brilliant bronze medal performance at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
In 2017, Jess finished 9th at the IAAF World Championships, the highest an Australian female has placed in a World Championships Marathon ever. In 2018 at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Jess followed up from Glasgow grabbing another bronze medal. Jess also ran a new personal best 10 weeks later at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, running a time of 2.25.59.
After announcing her pregnancy, Jess faced the prospect of having a newborn baby and racing to run a qualifying time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her son Billy was born in November 2019, and, while preparing to run a qualifying event in April 2020, the Olympics were postponed for a year. This has given Jess the best possible chance of making her third Olympic appearance in 2021.
When she is not pounding the pavement, Jess works as a Physiotherapist, particularly interested in biomechanics, training load and functional movement. In 2016, she started a new business with her partner Dylan and brother Jack, designing and selling Rundies (sports underwear) – www.rundies.com.au. Jess attributes her success quite simply to her love of running, disciplined approach to training, and the strong support she receives from family, friends, her coach Adam Didyk and training group Team Tempo.