JESS Trengove started marathon running by chance in 2012 and five years later has created history.
The 30-year-old South Australian travelled to London in July where she recorded the best-ever finish by an Australian woman in the marathon at the world championships.
Trengove became the first to crack the top-10 where she ran a time of 2hrs 28mins to finish ninth among the best field in the toughest event on the IAAF program.
Her gritty performance has seen her named The Advertiser/Channel 7 Sport Star of the Year for 2017.
It was the ninth marathon of Trengove’s career and has put her right in gold medal contention for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Trengove ran her first marathon in Japan in 2012 after a chance meeting with Australian great Robert De Castella who suggested she make the step up from half-marathon distance.
She has since competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics as well as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she won a bronze medal.
But it was her ninth place finish at the world champs this year against the might of powerhouse runners from Kenya and Ethiopia that she truly announced herself as a force on the world stage.
It was the second marathon Trengove ran in London this year after she finished 10th in personal best time of 2 hours and 27 minutes in April and said she wasn’t planning on going back in July.
“I crossed the line in April thinking I was probably going to focus on another major later in the year, but I crossed the line and thought ‘I love this city and I love running for my country’,” Trengove said.
“I just had this urge to run for Australia again this year, my body felt all right so we were like, it’s 15 weeks, let’s do it, and I am so grateful we made that decision.
“This was the first marathon race where I felt I could respond to the surges and be in control.
“One of my proudest moments in the race was just before half way and the pack started getting away from me, a few people were out there and I heard them yelling out that I had to stay with that pack.
“I had to push a bit more than I would like to at that point to get back on them but it was the best thing I did because once you’re moving with that pack it’s a lot easier, you go with the flow.
“If I didn’t push beyond my comfort zone at that point it could have been a very different result.”
Sports Star of the Year — Jess Trengove (athletics)
Team of the Year — Adelaide Crows AFLW (Aussie rules)
People’s Choice — Scott Thulborn (lawn bowls)
Tanya Denver Award — Sam Willoughby (BMX)
Elite Athlete with a Disability — Brayden Davidson (athletics)