Welcome steeple chaser, Jess Barnard, to Oiselle Team! Jess represents the Philippines National Team and will be representing them next at the SEA Games in Singapore this June. She is a volunteer coach at UCLA, inspiring runners to reach for their dreams. We are incredibly excited to have her flying with us this year and beyond! A letter from Jess...
I was a freakishly competitive child. I would set up 100m dashes with all of the kids in my neighborhood and race and race and race until I beat every single kid. We would make our own batons and split up into relays... I would always volunteer to be anchor and be so happy to beat anyone who challenged me. That’s when I fell in love with running.
I ran for Long Beach State and found the steeplechase my sophomore year. After the first one, I knew it was my event. It was FUN… I get barriers as distractions, even a water pit to jump over?! Okay! I wasn’t a superstar in college. But the year I ran 10:22.9 and qualified for the first round of NCAA West Regionals was the year I got just a small taste of what I could do.
I am now a member of the Philippines National team. After college I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep running competitively… I wasn’t sure if I was good enough. But then I came to a point where I thought… I cannot imagine my life without running AND I have been handed this unbelievable opportunity. I have the privilege of representing a country. I can do this. I am in control. I believe in myself and I know that if I give this 100% I can be the athlete I have always wanted to be. I can be an Olympian. I’ve been told my entire life how talented I am and how much potential I have. Well, it’s time to make it happen.
So I am going for it. And with Oiselle by my side. I love everything that Oiselle stands for: fierceness, flyness, fearlessness. Oiselle is a community of women who know what they want and are willing to put in the work to get it. They signify true strength and that is exactly what I want to be a part of.
With all that running has given to me, I want to give back. I am currently working on “Project: Share a Pair” which gives athletes here in the US the ability to donate shoes to athletes in the Philippines who run and train barefoot. More specifically, I want to elevate women’s running. I am the only distance runner on the Philippine National team and I want that to change. A pair of shoes is a great start.
I currently live in Long Beach, CA but spend most of my time in Los Angeles. I am the assistant distance coach at UCLA and loving being a bruin! I started late last fall and it has been such an amazing experience so far. Coaching gives me the ability to help these young athletes become the best runners they can be, help them achieve the goals they have set for themselves, and exceed those goals. There is nothing more rewarding.
Thank you for reading. And a million thank yous to Oiselle for bringing me onto this incredible team and for more importantly… believing in me.