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Meet Sweaty Betty's newest Elite Ambassador: GB Heptathlete Jess Taylor

posted on Thursday, 20th November 2014 | find under Tamara
Sweaty Betty is thrilled to be working with Jess Taylor, Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 bronze medallist and #3 heptathlete in Great Britain. To celebrate the new relationship, Jess takes a few minutes out of her busy training and coaching schedule to tell us about her fitness history and ambitions. 


Jess wears Pace Run Tights and the Ultra Run Jacket

Do you remember the first moment you fell in love with fitness?

My parents would probably tell you from the age I was walking! There’s a picture of me in reigns at the age of 1 from a family holiday to Disney World. I apparently stole a mini mouse out the shop and ran off so they felt reigns were needed! After that, my first sports day in school gave me a real buzz after winning my first ever race. I was used to constantly being beat by my older brother so finally having some glory was rather nice!

How did you discover and decide to compete in the heptathlon?

My dad started taking me to the local athletics club in York, where I started off as a sprinter. I was ranked in the top 10 in the UK for the 75m in the U13 age group and always dreamed of being the fastest woman in the world! I competed for my club in the West Yorkshire League, which encourages you to do lots of events by granting points for your performance in each competition. At the end of the season, the three kids with the most points were awarded trophies, something which motivated me a lot! 

I got silver and found out I was fairly good at a few events so was encouraged to enter for the county combined events championships later that year, where I qualified for the national championships having had no training other than sprinting. From then on I continued to do heptathlon alongside my sprinting. It wasn't until I came to university in Manchester that I trained with an actual heptathlon coach and received my first England vest from the U23 age group. Perseverance is definitely key if you want to make it in sport!

You’re currently #3 in Britain – a huge accomplishment. Looking ahead, what is your next big challenge?

My next big challenge is the British Indoor Championships for pentathlon (hurdles/high jump/shot putt/long jump and 800m) on the 10/11th Jan. Ideally I would like to win this as I haven’t won the British Championships before and I feel really on form at the moment!  And if I place in the top 3 I will gain selection for Great Britain for an international match in Holland, so fingers crossed!

For the upcoming outdoor season, my main aim is to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing in August 2015. This would be an incredible experience and to compete in the Bird’s Nest would be amazing!

Describe a week in your running shoes – how many times are you exercising and what types of training are you doing?

I usually train 4/5 times a week, mixing medicine ball conditioning, technical hurdle training, hill runs and plyometrics, and weights and kettlebells. 

Like Sweaty Betty, a lot of your work involves ‘empowering others through fitness’. Can you tell us about some of your coaching experience?  

Absolutely! I coach a variety of athletics events to different groups from hearing impaired sports days and community athletics sessions to a weekly girls’ after-school club. I also have my own long jump and high jump groups, which I coach for the local athletics club. It’s great to get more people involved in sport and I’m so passionate about inspiring future generations. I have recently started doing some work for a company called Sport for Schools, running fitness circuits for the whole school to boost activity levels.  It’s a really great company and the kids seem to absolutely love it!

With Christmas just around the corner, what’s the current season Sweaty Betty piece you’d love to find under the tree?

Definitely the Orbital Down Gilet in Mountain Blue. It looks so snug and would be great for my winter training sessions such as hill runs, as normal jackets tend to restrict my arm movement when running! My family and I also always go on a lovely country walk on Boxing Day so it would also be perfect for that. I Hope Father Christmas delivers! 
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