Stenson's baby steps to Paris 2024

Murray WenzelAAP
2018 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Jess Stenson (r) is targeting the Paris Olympics.
Camera Icon2018 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Jess Stenson (r) is targeting the Paris Olympics. Credit: AP

Running quicker than ever since giving birth, a newly motivated Jess Stenson has Paris in her sights as she plots a course to a third Olympic Games.

Stenson finished the Perth Marathon in two hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds last month, taking almost a minute off her personal best in her first race since son Billy was born in late 2019.

A bone stress injury derailed attempts to qualify for Tokyo, but the 34-year-old's form and the efforts of her peers have ensured the focus quickly shifted to the 2024 instalment.

Compatriot and mother-of-two Sinead Diver, at 44 the oldest member of the Australian athletics team, finished 10th in Tokyo.

One place ahead of her was 41-year-old Canadian Malindi Elmore, another mother of two who had last competed at the 2004 Olympics over 1500m.

"They're just breaking down the stigma around age being a barrier for endurance athletes," Stenson told AAP.

"It certainly inspired me and a lot of people, and Perth really inspired me to try and go quicker again.

"It's encouraged me to dream big, that's for sure."

She will sit with coach Adam Didyk on Friday to formulate a plan to add Paris to her London and Rio marathon experiences.

"That's my goal, to make a third Olympic team and Adam and I will discuss what that looks like, what we target, to get on that team and work backwards from there," she said.

The 2022 calendar is headlined by the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, a race Stenson has qualified for thanks to her Perth feat, as well as Birmingham's Commonwealth Games.

More immediately, South Australian Stenson has flagged December's Melbourne half marathon and will also line up in an All Stars relay team for the second instalment of the ASICS World Ekiden later this month.

Spilt into six legs of varying distances, the virtual race sees teams of up to six pass a digital tasuki - a narrow band of fabric associated with traditional Ekidens - between them as they run a combined virtual marathon in the fastest possible time.

Stenson has teamed up with Australian Diamonds captain Liz Watson, Adelaide AFLW captain Chelsea Randall, Kookaburras forward Blake Govers, Olympic triathlete Jake Birtwhistle and Queensland State of Origin winger Xavier Coates.

The race format is inspired by the couriers of Japan in the 1600s, who would run to deliver messages between Tokyo and Kyoto.

"I've got great memories from going to Japan early in my career for Ekidens and after doing the virtual race last year I met some international athletes who I've since kept in touch with and helped motivate as well," she said.


* Sign-up for free using the ASICS Runkeeper app or the OneASICS membership program.

* Log your leg of the race in the app between November 10-22.

* Use the Mind Uplifter app to measure your state of mind and contribute to the World Uplift Score.

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