Dr Jess Warner-Judd

Jess Judd has just announced that she has successfully completed her PhD. “The title is ‘A mechanical injury model of skeletal muscle’,” she told me. It is in regenerative medicine. My thesis was looking at strain rates and strain rate percentages and their impact on skeletal muscle, which we grew in a 3D environment in vitro. It was very lab-based tissue culture.”

Jess Judd, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

Balancing academic work and running at the elite level is difficult, as she explained: “I started that in 2018, and I’ve now finished, so I’m really over the moon that it’s done – with COVID and everything. I took lots of leaves of absence with running and to have finished it, I’m really happy. It was quite difficult to balance everything, and then I had to finish writing it when I was in Font Romeu last winter without any internet. So that was an experience in itself. The submission date was 31 December 2023. So that made a really nice Christmas!”.

Jess Judd, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics


She is now looking forward to being a full-time athlete for the first time: “Up until now, I’ve been balancing academics and running, so it’s nice to finally go full into running and spend more time with my family.  I’m pretty a family-orientated person, and I think with running, you kind of get quite lonely as well. You don’t have that network of socializing and friends, so I’m lucky that over the last couple of years, the runners you go on trips with have become really good friends. So that’s nice.

During this interview, I also took the opportunity to talk about things away from running.  I asked what she is like as a person, and she gave me a brilliant answer: “People just say I’m a bit dopey. I don’t have an awful lot going on. I’m not very good at anything else apart from running. So I’m a bit boring”. She added: “I like spending time with my dogs. So I’ve got 2 Cocker spaniels called Bruce and Bernie.  I’m a massive Bruce Springsteen fan, so I named our dog after Bruce, and then we got another one. And then they keep me really occupied.  (For British readers, she is at pains to point out that it is definitely Bruce Springsteen, not the British TV entertainer Bruce Forsyth!)  She also has two rabbits, Bee and Bailey, but she does not reveal who they are called after! She did explain that Bernie had to have a name beginning with B, and it just made sense, so Bruce and Bernie, Bee and Bailey!