Aug 13, 2013
by Jessika Bailey
Athletic Communications Assistant
The main goal for many runners around the world and for Jackie Areson, a long-distance runner, it still holds true.
University of Houston cross country coach Steve Magness is coaching Areson through it all, taking the training step-by-step.
Areson is a volunteer coach for the Houston cross country program and is currently competing at the International Association of the Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship in Moscow, Russia.
The two have been training together for three years.
"I began coaching her right after she graduated from the University of Tennessee and received a pro contract to run for Nike," Magness said. "I was in Oregon working for Nike at the time, so she moved out to Oregon and we started working together."
When Magness got the opportunity to return to Houston, his alma mater, Areson followed.
In July, Areson qualified for worlds at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris, France, but not for the United States. She is competing in the 5,000-meter run for Australia.
"It's her first World Championship, so really this is a stepping stone. The long-term goal is the Rio Olympics in 2016, so this is the first big step in preparing for that as best as possible," Magness said. "It's really just to have fun, mix it up with the best in the world, and hopefully make the final and see what she can do."
Areson was born to an American father and Australian mother, granting her dual citizenship. She moved to the U.S. when she was 10 years old. Just recently, her family returned to Australia.
"Since she was the fastest women over 5,000 meters that could represent Australia and she had the standard, they selected her to run worlds," Magness said.
The two have been training all summer for Moscow. Magness said Areson loves to train in Houston using the scorching, humid weather as a benefit.
"In Houston, we laid all of the foundation and hard work. That's where all the training was done to get this point. In Russia right now, it's more of just easing off and just doing enough to stay sharp. I know we both can't wait to get back to Houston," Magness said.