Passing of Jo Dering

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We are very sad to hear the news that Jo Dering (Exeter College, Oxford 1987-91), who is the OUAC 1500, Mile and 3000m record holder, died in January after a short illness.

Jo, a bubbly and much-loved member of both OUAC and Achilles, contributed much to both University and Club whilst also forming strong relationships with the Oxford City Running Club during her four-year degree. Her athletic results speak to her talent, determination and dedication.

In 1988 Jo placed 4th in the Varsity Cross Country and, in the same year, an Achilles team of Jo, Davina Manship and Sian Pilling won the St Maur Corrida road race in Paris, led home by Jo in 6th place overall.

The following spring, Jo set personal bests at both 800m and 1500m (4:40.7) in the Transatlantic Series USA tour, later further improving at 800m to a lifetime PB of 2:09.8.

Injury forced her out of Varsity sports until July 1990 when, in her first race of the year, she dramatically improved her 1500m time, winning for Achilles against the Combined Services and Surrey in 4:20.1. This was soon improved to a lifetime outdoor pb of 4:11.85 at Wrexham in July 1990. Two weeks later she set a 3000m pb 8:59.45 in Hungary. And, in a resounding team victory for Oxford, Jo was a dominant winner of the Varsity Cross Country in December of the same year.

Her amazing form continued into 1991, when she won the WAAA Indoors 1500m, the first Achilles woman to win a national title, before setting a shortcourse pb of 4:13.10 in the World Indoors in Spain.

Jo set a mile pb of 4:38.14 in the summer of 1991, competing for the AAA, her all-around long-distance prowess being capped by 45th place in the 2003 London Marathon in a time of 3:00:58.

Immediately after Oxford Jo devoted her considerable talent to a teaching career at Larkmead School in Abingdon. Here hundreds of former pupils remember her with affection as 'a fantastic maths teacher, Director of Learning and inspirational Head of Sixth Form'.

Jo Dering – one of the most successful yet more humble female Oxford athletes of all time – will be sorely missed by all those who crossed paths with her Oxford career.