Jessica’s passion for running was ignited as a child in her hometown of Naracoorte in South Australia’s south east. Throughout her junior years she was heavily involved in a variety of sports including netball, basketball, tennis, athletics and school cross country. Becoming an Olympian was a childhood dream and her sporting heroes included Susie O'Neill and Benita Willis. It was Jess's two siblings Abbie and Jack who through their sporting successes, inspired her to chase this goal in her early twenties.
Jess’s rise in Australian distance running started with victories in Adelaide’s City Bay Fun Run, 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, 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 A-Qualifying standard, Jess secured her spot on the Australian Olympic team. Jess ran her second ever Marathon at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The opportunity to represent her country in the green and gold alongside the World's best reinforced her love for the sport. Jess clocked an impressive 2.31.17 crossing the line in 39th place.
Backing up an 11th placing at the 2013 world titles, Jess had 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.
Jess claims that injury challenges in 2014 and 2016 helped her to train smarter and become a more resilient athlete. She 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 Championship 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. She went on to place second at the Gold Coast Marathon 10 weeks later and set a new person best of 2h 25m 59s at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October of 2018.
In November of 2019 Jess and her husband Dylan welcomed their first child, Billy into the world and Jess adores her new role as a Mother. Following some time off running during this period, Jess plans to continue her sporting career as a parent and feels grateful for the growing opportunities for women in sport. Off the training track, she works part-time as a Physiotherapist, where she is particularly interested in biomechanics, 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, Raising Literacy Australia & Eat For You. She also proudly represents Asics Australia & Southside Suzuki.
Jess attributes her success quite simply to her love of running, determination, balanced approach to training and the strong support she receives from family, friends, her coach Adam Didyk and training group Team Tempo.