JESSICA Judd promised herself on the start line of yesterday’s London Mini-Marathon that she would go out with a bang — and she did just that.
The 17-year-old, from Canvey, won her fourth mini-marathon on the final time she was eligible to compete in the event, which takes place over the final three miles of the full marathon course.
The King John School sixth-former did not consider herself as the favourite in the under-17 race this time round, fearing her more speed-based track training would not suit the distance.
But she need not have worried.
The World Youth Champ-ionships bronze medallist at 800m kicked clear of the field at half way and ultimately finished 26 seconds ahead of nearest rival Jenny Nesbitt.
“I stood on the start line and told myself ‘this is the last time you’ll run this so let’s enjoy it and go out with a bang!
“It’s such a fantastic event with a great atmosphere. I don’t think there is another event like it. It’s great to see so many people on the side of the road.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting to win it this year. I’ve been focusing on the track a lot more and I wasn’t too sure how this would go. Three miles is quite a long way!
“But I was feeling really good and made a move at about half way and didn’t look back.
“I wasn’t too sure of the gap I had; I could hear people calling my name but also calling for those girls behind.
“So, I was a bit worried and kicked again when I got to Big Ben and in the end won by 26 seconds which was great.”
Although this year’s mini-marathon — which brings together the best young distance runners in the country — will be Judd’s last, it is unlikely to be the last time the name appears on the results sheet.
Jessica’s younger sister Jodie, 13, was making her debut in the event, finishing eighth in the under-13 girls’ race.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Jessica. “She was a bit disappointed, but it was her first time she’s done this and it’s very different to other races. She did really well.”
Other local youngsters racing included Westcliff’s George Elliott, who was 33rd in the under-15 boys’ race.
“It was OK, but not my best. The distance was tough and made it a bit of a drag,” said Elliott.
Grays’ Gemma Holloway was 18th in the under-15 girls’ race.