WE’VE ALL WANTED TO SHOUT: “STOP THE WORLD! I WANT TO GET OFF!”

Few of us have ever managed to do it. Not in a Christopher Reeve-era Superman kind of way by actually stopping the planet spinning – that did happen though, right? – but by taking control of our own future. Even fewer of us have taken it a step further and shouted: “Stop the world! I want to start living!” then done it to the degree that Annie Emmerson did.

A party girl / wage slave with a whirlwind lifestyle of work, deals, lunches, dinners, cigarettes and G&T’s decided to say “yes” when some pals suggested joining them for a triathlon weekend. Within months she was picking up a bronze medal at the embryonic sport’s National Championships and seriously enjoying her new discovery. Taking a leaf out of Ferris Bueller’s textbook, she stepped off the conveyor belt. But rather than taking a roadtrip, she stepped on to a different conveyor belt: this one was attached to a running machine.

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For every step she has taken from that first weekend to her position as a National Treasure, Annie’s story is as aspirational as any version of the American Dream, Rocky, or Cinderella you’ve ever suspended your disbelief for. More than 20 years in triathlon, retiring Bradman-like as the World’s No.1 duathlete, only to become the most motivational of coaches, and now the reassuring face of triathlon on the BBC: knowledgeable, insightful, but never ever anything other than “one of us.”

A Team GB stalwart in three sports – triathlon, duathlon and running - more somebody that speaks movingly about motivation rather than a routine motivational speaker, still fitter than the proverbial Dewhurst’s weimerana, and mum to two happy human beings. Inspirational is just the ground floor.

by John Deering

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