Triathlon presents a daunting challenge for anybody, but Canadian ace Jen Annett has had to overcome much more adversity than most in her race to elite level.
Jen’s traumatic ordeal began when she was hit by a car while out on her bike training for the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii in 2008. For two years after that she suffered small seizures which went undiagnosed, all the while continuing to complete at the highest level.
After suffering her first major seizure in December 2010, Jen’s world was torn apart. She was told that she would not even be able to drive, be able to bike alone or even have a bath alone. Let alone complete at the highest level in one of the world’s toughest sports.
At the age of just 25, she refused to accept this prognosis though and asked for a second opinion which arrived some six months later. And this time the discussion was about epliepsy. Something she has battled ever since.
Annett then decided to start a family before eventually going back to work in a bank and back to triathlon - she simply would not allow this condition to run her life.
While medical advice was against resuming triathlon, Jen again refused to accept that her career was over. Since returning in 2013 she has confounded that advice year after year.
She excels on her bike, smashing course records for that discipline more than once, and also made the step up from 70.3 to full distance to compete in the World Championship in 2018 and 2019.
For the 2019 Kona showpiece, Annett appeared to be in great form, having placed third at IRONMAN Frankfurt and second in Canada.
But Hawaii was to bring a reminder of life’s brutal bumps in the road as she was a DNF after being hit by a motorcycle (the result as a broken rib, concussion and massive contusions). As with everything else Jen has dealt with so far though, it is unlikely to slow her unstoppable progress. As she proves with her desire to create a powerful legacy.
“A wife, mother and friend who loves their family and did their best to positively touch everyone in their life. A successful athlete who was driven to be an inspiration to others, not only in sport, but in life as well.”