Emma Pearson took up triathlon sports as a hobby in 2009, and it wasn't long before she qualified to compete for Great Britain. Last year she won a gold medal in the European Sprint Triathlon in Eilat, Israel. She works part time as a small animal vet in Morpeth, Northumberland
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What made you get involved in triathlon?
I've always done a lot of sport, but I started open water swimming with a triathlon club when I started work in mixed practice and got involved from there.
What sports are involved?
Triathlon involves swimming in open water, cycling and running. There are lots of different distance races but the main ones I do combine a 1500 m swim with a 40 km bike race and, finally, a 10 km run.
How much time do you spend training?
I usually train for 25 hours a week.
Are you in training now?
The triathlon race season is just starting for this year. I will be racing in a combination of events including the Elite British Super Series (which involves races in Blenheim, Windsor, London and Liverpool), as well as a number of European cup races. The world age-group championships in London will finish the season off.
Do you have any particular sporting ambitions?
My aim is to try to go as fast as I can in triathlon. I like a challenge and am constantly trying to improve each discipline.
How do you fit the training in alongside being a vet?
When I was working full time I used to get a training session in before and after work, but now I have a bit more time to recover as well!
What do you like about your job?
I love challenging medical cases, but also liaising with owners while their pets are in our hospital. I want to make sure they are fully informed as to how their pet is doing and understand what we are doing and why.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an elite athlete?
To understand that the commitment isn't just about training more, but that the sacrifices involved include financial and lifestyle choices. I have a massively supportive husband and couldn't do it without him.
What's the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Never to look back in regret, but to move on to the next thing. A setback is never a bad experience, just something to learn from.
What was your proudest moment?
Graduating from vet school.
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