Alison seizes her second chance

Competing in the Olympics or Paralympics must surely be the pinnacle of any athlete’s career, but in the case of alumna and para-triathlete Alison Patrick (BSc Physiotherapy, 2009), she’s taken the second chance presented to her with both hands.

Having achieved the qualifying time earlier this year, the visually impaired 28-year-old will be lining up on the start line later this summer as a genuine medal hope for Great Britain, following a stunning start to her triathlete career.

Despite only taking part in her first triathlon in 2013, Alison proved a natural at the endurance event and won the world title in Edmonton the following year.

That resurrected her dream of taking part in a Paralympics, following her step back from competitive track athletics in her second year at Birmingham.

An experienced international competitor from the age of 11, she was 800m world champion in the first year of her degree in 2007, but a succession of Achilles injuries the following year ruled her out of qualification for the Beijing Paralympics.

Eight years later the wait is finally over and she added: ‘It’s very exciting to think I’ll soon be flying to Brazil. I actually got to try out the official team kit recently and it made things that much more real.’

An albino, Alison was blind at birth but recovered some sight up to the age of seven. She is unable to drive and consequently particularly enjoys the cycling element of triathlon, because as she explained: ‘It gives me a sense of speed that I can’t get otherwise in my life.’

She has fond memories of her time at university but said: ‘Combining my degree with my athletics was a pretty full-on exercise. Sometimes I had to travel a fair distance for my work placements and then get back home and try and find the motivation to go out and train.

‘But I did meet my best friend while running with the athletics club, so I’m not complaining.’