Age / DOB
Jun 04 1989
Before she turned 30 in 2019, Emma Pallant had already put together a hugely impressive sporting CV.
European U23 cross-country champion, a world-class middle-distance runner, world titles in aquathlon (2017) and duathlon (2015 and 2016), runner-up at the 70.3 World Championship in 2017 and a stack of 70.3 wins.
She had also made an encouraging start to racing at the full distance with a podium place at IRONMAN Austria in 2018. All the more noteworthy as her running career was all but ended by knee problems.
Emma had just missed out on selection for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was focused on making the Team GB squad for London 2012. But she pulled up injured in the 5,000m Olympic trials, her latest setback after knee surgery.
That low though would turn out to be the start of her triathlon journey.
While recovering she “loved the cross-training challenge” and entered the London Triathlon for her running mentor Dame Kelly Holmes’ charity.
At this point she had never even ridden a road bike but she was helped to get up to speed by coach Michelle Dillon, who has been a huge influence ever since.
Emma still only had a few weeks of training behind her when, on the day itself, her running background was noticed and she was bumped up into the elite field to race alongside the likes of Daniela Ryf. Ryf duly won, but more surprising was Pallant’s sixth place.
Dillon persuaded her to give the sport a go, by now her injury issues had all but disappeared and it wasn’t long before she gave up her job, turned professional and moved to London to train full-time.
Emma started out on the ITU circuit, but it was moving up in distance in 2016 which allowed her to really make her mark on the world stage.
The start was a mix of emotions as she looked on course for victory at 70.3 Brazil, but after pushing to the limit: “I passed out on the run with 1km to go and a five-minute lead”.
Despite that setback, the wins and podiums soon started to come. 2016 saw Pallant defend her World Duathlon crown and win another six shorter distance events in what was a stellar season.
2017 saw her step up again with her best display to date, a second place behind Ryf at the 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga. She also collected gold at the Penticton ITU Aquathlon World Championships.
Emma again logged a range of wins in 2018, including 70.3 events at Barcelona, Dun Laoghaire and Staffordshire. She also notched a first finish and podium in a full IRONMAN event with a third place in Austria.
That Austria result qualified her for Kona and though the heat got the better of her in Hawaii, it only made her even hungrier for success there.
Now she is also taking time to convey her love of running to others. Asked what she’s most proud of, she says: “Starting a run club at an orphanage here in Johannesburg.
“I’m really excited to grow it and to change as many young lives as possible through the power of sport.”