Jenny Nesbitt’s played a key part in a fine team gold in Dublin and the success breathes fire into her conversation with Matt Long.

Dr. Matt Long manages to catch up with the Cardiff based athlete shortly after her fine showing at the European cross country championships where she finished as second scorer behind Jessica Judd, helping a magnificent GB & NI take a team gold.

That aside, Nesbitt is understandably keen to talk about her own performance as an individual and enthusiastically says, “I am really pleased to be honest. Going into the race I wanted top 15 or perhaps even top 12 on a good day. So to finish as high as 10th was a great result for me and a stark improvement on my last Euro Cross”.

She placed 29th in Lisbon back in 2019 pre Covid and her desire to secure continuous improvements in performance is in her DNA. With a nod of affirmation she continues that, “Typically, as a competitive individual, I now want to do even better”.

Consistency is key

Having demonstrated her consistency by placing runner up in runner up in consecutive British Athletics Cross challenges in Cardiff, Milton Keynes and at the trials in Liverpool already this winter, the Cardiff athlete’s confidence was obviously high before the European championships but she admits that the course was perhaps more severe than anticipated.

With a giggle she conveys that “the course was brutal! I have done some tough courses in the past, such as World XC in 2019 where I placed 34th in Denmark but this one was more of a grind. The so called ‘slope’ we climbed on the back half of the course certainly felt like a mountain by the time it was the last lap!

The last 800m of the race was very painful. This being said, I enjoyed elements of it too because compared to some continental courses it was far more similar to typical cross here in the UK. There was mud for starters!”.

Festive Fun

The graduate of Bath University, who is now guided by Chris Jones, indicates that whilst the hard winter work of aerobic base building and strength endurance will continue, that there will be the opportunity for a spot of recreational running over the festive season.

“Over Christmas I will stick my regular training schedule and probably use the parkrun on Christmas Day to have a run around with my family”, and as a coach you can’t help but reflect on the wisdom of taking time out to allow your body to regenerate and allow the super-compensation effect of all the training and a hectic racing schedule to take place.

Photo: JHM Sport

Winter boards

Having run well on the track last summer, notably at the Muller British Athletics 10,000m championships and European 10,000m Cup at Birmingham University, Jenny intends to run regularly on the boards this winter.

It must be considered that the tight bends might be to her advantage considering racing style and experience and she asserts that, “I am moving indoors to race now – so will be getting on the indoor track for a few sessions, which I am really looking forward to.  I will focus mainly on the 3000m (where she ran a 9m09s PB last January at Sport City) but I am racing a 5000m in Glasgow early January to see where I am at there”.

Birmingham 2022

When the Spring arrives, Jenny will surely have an eye on selection for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games next year.

To do so she will be looking to improve on her 15m30s PB set back in 2019 at a BMC Regional race in Tipton. The passion for racing is clearly insatiable and she laughs when telling me, “I couldn’t help but throw myself into the Christmas Classic this weekend at the NIAC and I’m so looking forward to reminding myself how painful track racing is!

Aside from that and looking further ahead, I plan on racing both the British Indoors, Welsh Indoors and maybe BUCS too early in 2022”.

As our conversation comes to an end, it’s clear that this is one Welsh Dragon who threatens to continue to breathe fire well into 2022.

Matt Long has served as both an England Team Manager and England Team Coach and welcomes contact for coaching support- Email: