Marathon medallist Jess Trengove learns from brother Jack’s resilience

Whenever Jess Trengove is having a bad day, she only has to look as far as her brother Jack for inspiration.

The resilience of the luckless Melbourne Demons midfielder to battle through persistent foot injuries shows the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist what it takes to succeed at the elite level.

Trengove will scale back in distance from the marathon, after having stood on the podium in Glasgow last year, to contest the Australian cross-country championships in Canberra on Sunday.

It’s the first time the 27-year-old has contested the eight-kilometre event since taking out the title in Brisbane in 2010.

Since then, Trengove has been a revelation in the longer distances, finishing a respectable 39th in the marathon in the 2012 London Olympic Games before winning Commonwealth bronze in Glasgow last year.

Younger brother Jack – the second pick in the 2009 AFL draft – has been beset by crippling foot injuries which restricted him to just two games last year. He was on the verge of being traded to Richmond before scans detected he required further surgery to repair damage to the navicular bone. It is unclear if Trengove will play at all this year.

A physiotherapist by trade, Jess has a big interest in bone stress injuries. “I love chatting to him and see what he’s been doing,” Trengove said. “It’s taught me a lot as a physio and a lot as an athlete about staying positive and being patient, resilient.

“He’s got an incredible attitude towards it all and it’s really put it in perspective for me.”

Trengove managed a toe injury in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games and is looking forward to Jack being able to leave the moon boot behind and walking again.

“I’ll be really interested when they start looking at drills and gradually getting back into running,” she said. “My background in running is different to the type of running he’ll be doing as a footballer.

“The training we do is very different. The one thing I will be able to probably help is the early days of retraining his gait, because he hasn’t run for so long.”

Trengove said growing up there was a healthy rivalry between herself, Jack and sister Abbie, who represented South Australia at rowing.

“It sort of inspired me to have a crack at the running,” Trengove said. “Rather than competing against each other because we were in such different sports, it was more of a I’d see what they were doing in training and it would fire me up to pursue my goals.

“When Jack got drafted, it made me think I want to have a real go at running and see where that could take me.”

Trengove is aiming to qualify for the world cross country championships in China in March.

She said the course at Stromlo would make for a fast race. “There’s pretty even grass, so you can take it on pretty hard and I think the pace is generally on,” she said.

“I remember finding it very challenging the last time I raced there. It’s more of a race course with a few little inclines.”

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