Jessica Piasecki née Coulson
Former Stockport Grammar pupil, Jess Piasecki née Coulson (OS 2008), is now the third fastest female in British marathon history after winning the Florence Marathon in 2:25:29 in November 2019.
The win puts Jess in third place on the British all-time list behind marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25) and two-time Olympian Mara Yamauchi (2:23:19). She also recorded the second-fastest time in the history of the Asics Firenze Marathon, winning the World Athletics Bronze Label road race on her debut at the distance.
On her latest achievement, Jess said:
I would say that the race itself just all went to plan, everything down to the weather just clicked. I was very sensible in the first half and then I was in the mix at the front for the second half and my competitive instinct kicked in.
It was a fabulous day and it’s something I have been wanting to be able to do for a number of years so I am excited now to have done that and to progress from here. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my coach, husband and family.
Jess’s running career began at Stockport Grammar School when she qualified for the Schools Championships in 2004. In an earlier interview about her time at SGS, Jess told us:
The PE department have been so supportive and they want me to do well… that spurs me on!
Jess went on to run for Stockport Harriers and competed at international level from the age of 16 when she made her first team Great Britain appearance as part of the junior cross country team. Since then she has represented team GB at senior level on the road, track and cross country and has previously been the English 10,000 metre and British half marathon champion.
When she left SGS in 2008, Jess went on to study Human Biology at Loughborough University. She is now an exercise physiology lecturer and researcher Nottingham Trent University and combines her experience of running with her scientific knowledge to offer training programmes through her company Runscience.
Earlier this year, Jess ran the Long Eaton parkrun in 15:51 which puts her second in the parkrun all-time rankings and she went on to captain the GB team at the World Cross in Aarhus, where she placed 37th.
In Issue Three of the Old Stops’ Review, Jess spoke about her gold medal in the Women’s Under-23s Race at the European Cross Country Championships in Budapest and her time at Stockport Grammar.