8th December 2018


British senior women’s star Jessica Piasecki (coach: Robert Hawkins; club: Stockport Harriers) is relishing her return to the British team as she prepares for tomorrow’s European Cross Country Championships.

The 28-year-old makes her return to the championships having last made an appearance in 2012 in Hungary, where she won the Under-23s race and claimed team silver in the process.

After being out of the Euro Cross team for six years, Piasecki hopes that she can give a good account of herself on her return and is excited to get back on the international scene at tomorrow’s race and hopes to cap her return with a medal.

She said: “It’s a bit bizarre to be back. When you’re back here, you don’t really have a minute to spare and it’s all systems go. I think tonight it’ll all stat sinking in as I’m preparing to race.

“I’ve been looking forward to this ever since Liverpool. This week at work, my mind has been on the race and focusing on it, but then now it’s here it’s really bizarre. We have all this build-up and then it goes like that. But I’m just super-excited to race now.

“I’d like to finish as high up as possible but most of all, I want to get out there and race. That’s what I wanted to do in Milton Keynes and Liverpool and it’s what I want to do tomorrow and see where that puts me. Some in the team will be wanting medals and there’s no reason why anyone in this team can’t get an individual medal.”

Piasecki has enjoyed a resurgent 2018 on the Cross Country circuit, having placed second at the Cross Challenge leg in Milton Keynes, and third at the trials in Liverpool last month.

Her accomplishments are made even more impressive as she has achieved this whilst balancing her training with lecturing at Nottingham Trent University.

Because of her training and working She feels that it is testament to herself that she is able to perform as strong as she is and hopes that the British athletes can pull out a positive performance and come away with at least a team medal to her name.

“Being here makes me realise that I’ve achieved something huge. A lot of the team are full-time athletes or are training at Loughborough. We’ve got such a strong team, everyone gets along really well and hopefully we can all work together as a team and do really well.

“I know the Netherlands will be working together and really vying for that top spot and they have a really strong team as well. We know it’ll be really tough but hopefully we can pull it out of the bag.

“Being healthy and consistently being able to train is the main thing. It’s taken me about 14 years to get to know my body quite well and what works for me. I’m probably running less mileage but I’m doing other bits to supplement.

“I think being busy and working really helps my running because I enjoy having that distraction and I’m able to be consistent and do races and come away healthy. That’s what I try and portray to athletes coming through that it is being healthy that supplements your performance and you’ll continually get better.”

The course itself is a mixture of mud, sand and a grass section, which also incorporates a log-jump and is seen as being a fast course by organisers.

The Euro Cross last course she raced on saw her fighting against the elements as snow and ice paved the course in Szentendre, Hungary, a stark contrast to this weekend’s course.

Piasecki feels that the course could provide a range of challenges through the tight grass section and hopes her experiences of racing on a range of difficult courses in her career will stand her in better stead.

“It’s been so long since I’ve since I’ve raced on anything like that. I’ve done muddy courses, British courses and a couple of European courses and because the race is so twisty and turny you have to be on your guard and make sure you have the right footing.

“It could be all about a sprint start and because of the nature of the course so I might have to go for a PB in the first 200m,” she added.