First published June 2021

For me, triathlon really is a family affair. I compete in the women’s visually impaired event, and I met my husband Jack when he was working as a guide with the British men’s Para triathlon squad.

Jack is a former triathlete himself, and he got involved with the Para squad through his brother George, who was quite young when he started out competing. Jack would go along to support him. So three is definitely the magic number in the Peasgood triathlon team - and that’s pretty cool.

From a performance level, it really helps me as Jack, who now works as a coach at Scotland Triathlon, understands everything I need to do to be at my best – even things like napping after a swim.

In tadem: Alison (L) in action at Rio 2016 with guide Hazel Smith

We first met not long after I joined the British Triathlon programme in 2014. There was a competition in Lanzarote, and Jack had just started out as a guide with the men’s squad – he was working with fellow visually impaired athlete Dave Ellis.

We were both new to the programme - and the only two not in GB kit at the airport. My brother, who dropped me off at the airport that day, pointed out that not only was Jack not in kit, he was in Birmingham University kit – and I had studied there too. We joked then that I should definitely go talk to him!

When the men’s visually impaired class wasn’t included in the schedule for Rio 2016, Jack went from being a racing guide to assisting training with the women’s squad. We started spending more time together, and I think I knew before he did that there could be a future for us! He proposed on a cycling holiday after the Rio Games at the top of a mountain in France.

Before the COVID pandemic struck we kept our triathlon lives separate - I worked with different coaches and guides depending on whether I was at home in Stirling or with the team in Loughborough.

Lockdown and restrictions meant that changed; we train and go out on the tandem together. It’s been really helpful for me – and if I’m cross after a session when I haven’t done as well as I may have wanted to, we’ve agreed that once I’m off the bike we forget about it!

Brother in law: George Peasgood competes in the men's PT4 triathlon at Rio

George and I have a great camaraderie too. The three of us lived together before Rio 2016 and that made us really close. At races, George would be the person I would have a coffee with, or just hang out with to distract me from the competition.

In fact, we have a ritual at races – when I’m doing my warm-up in the call room area he shouts ‘Ali! Ali! Ali!’ and I shout “George! George! George!’ back at him. Recently, he’s been away at competitions himself, so I’ve had to send him a text version instead.

But that sense of family extends even beyond Jack and George. There is a great community within Para triathlon, especially among the British squad. We all have the same goal - getting to the Paralympic Games - and we encourage each other a lot. We’re not rivals; we want the best for each other, and we support each other every step of the way. It’s a wonderful family to be a part of.

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