Mum Emma Cowper set a course record in the Outlaw X half Ironman at Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire
Emma Cowper finished her first season since becoming a mum in style by setting a course record in the Outlaw X half Ironman at Thoresby Park.
The Bishop's Stortford athlete returned to action in the spring after a three-year absence from the competitive circuit.
Cowper, 33, got her professional licence in 2017 and raced the following year, but in 2019 she broke her collarbone before getting pregnant and then last year a combination of the pandemic and giving birth to daughter Eleanor also meant racing was impossible.
She got back on the start line for a race in Welwyn in May this year – her last race had been in Weymouth in 2018 – and then raced once a month, seeing her times improve every time.
And after coming second in an Outlaw event at Bowood House in Wiltshire a fortnight previously, she completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile cycle and 13.1-mile run in 4hr 35min 45sec to claim victory and set a course record at Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire on September 26. The run was her quickest by a couple of minutes.
"I recovered well after racing only two weeks before, but I was surprised to get a course record and massive run PB on a hard course," said Cowper. "It's nice that everything's coming together again."
Former hockey player Cowper took up triathlon after being inspired by the exploits of the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, at London 2012.
Making a rapid impact, she triumphed at the 2016 world championships in Mexico in the 25-29 category before getting her pro licence towards the end of the following year. Her personal best is 4:28, set at Challenge Turku in Finland in 2018.
With the vital support of her husband Alastair, Cowper continued to train throughout her pregnancy and then built the training back up gradually after six weeks off when her daughter was born.
She is now waiting to see if she can retain her pro licence for 2022 as, after a well-earned family holiday, she will begin winter training ahead of next season.
"I just want to keep on improving and getting better results," said Cowper, who is a sustainability manager at DP World London Gateway. "The two don't always go hand in hand, but I want to see how quick I can go."
Cowper has enjoyed competing in the races organised by Outlaw Triathlon and hopes to do more of them. This year's races were done in time trial fashion due to Covid, with competitors setting off separately.
But she is also keen to return to racing abroad, as well as stepping up to the full Ironman distance.
"I'd definitely like to do one next year now that I've got to full fitness," said Cowper.
Cowper is sponsored by Tees, Injury Active Clinic and Takeley Chiropractic, but is still looking for financial support ahead of her planned return to racing abroad. Contact her via Instagram @emmacowpertri.