A Commonwealth Games gold medallist and two-time Olympian, Jess Stenson (née Trengove) is one of Australia’s greatest ever marathon competitors.
Growing up in the small South Australian town of Naracoorte, Jess Trengove’s childhood dream was to become an Olympian.
Finding a passion for running at a young age, that dream soon became a reality after a rise in Australian distance running that saw her take out victories in Adelaide’s City-Bay Fun Run, the Australian Cross Country Championships, the Melbourne Half Marathon and Sydney’s iconic City2Surf.
These road and cross-country races built a strong foundation for her brave debut at the marathon distance in Nagoya, Japan in March 2012.
Jess’s performance in Japan was the fastest ever debut marathon by an Australian woman. Stopping the clock at 2.31.02, almost a full minute under the Olympic A-Qualifying standard, Jess secured her spot on the Australian Olympic team bound for London.
Running just her second-ever marathon at the 2012 London Games, Jess found the opportunity to represent her country in the green and gold alongside the world’s best reinforced her love for the race. Jess clocked an impressive 2.31.17 crossing the line in 39th place.
Backing up with an 11th placing at the 2013 world championships, Jess went on to have a standout performance at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Continuing Australia’s proud record in the women’s marathon, Jess surged home to claim the bronze medal, finishing behind two experienced Kenyan runners.
In 2016, Jess placed 21st in the Rio Olympics marathon. After an injury-plagued couple of years, Jess was able to raise the bar in 2017 by setting a new PB of 2:27:01 in the 2017 London Marathon and finishing 9th at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London; the highest ever placing by an Australian female in a World Championships marathon.
In one of her toughest but most satisfying marathons to date, Jess won her second consecutive Commonwealth Games Bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. In November of 2019, Jess and her husband Dylan welcomed their first child, Billy into the world – Jess adoring her new role as a mother.
The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics gave Jess a chance to be selected, however, with the Australian borders closed, getting to races was difficult. Athletics Australia would organise a race in April but due to persistent pain in her right quad and a diagnosis of a bone injury, Jess unfortunately could not start the race. Watching the Tokyo Olympics with her family at home inspired her to chase third Olympic appearance in Paris.
In 2022, Jess competed in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Incredibly, Jess ran the marathon in 2:27.31, winning the race by 29 seconds. Heading into the final 20 minutes of the race, Jess brought up the pace to go clear on her own at the front. Jess shared this special moment with her teammates, Welling and Diver, who also finished within the top 5. Jess’s incredible performance despite the gruelling course will go down in Australian history, as she is the first women to claim a medal in three Commonwealth Games marathons.
Off the training track, Jess works part-time as a physiotherapist, where she is particularly interested in bio-mechanics, training load and functional movement.
In 2016, she started a business with her husband and brother Jack, designing and selling Rundies (sports underwear).
Jess endorses a healthy lifestyle through her ambassador roles with the Jodi Lee Foundation, Little Heroes Foundation and Raising Literacy Australia.
Jess also proudly represents Asics Australia and Southside Suzuki.