Emma Pallant-Browne: Background, career highlights, quotes

Emma Pallant-Browne has excelled at middle-distance for a number of years now, but what's her background? And what's likely to come next?

Emma Pallant-Browne wins Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire

A former track prodigy who switched to triathlon after knee surgery, Emma Pallant-Browne has since become a highly decorated multi-sport competitor, with world titles in both duathlon and aquathlon, plus innumerable race wins at half-Iron distance.

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Here, we take a deep dive into her multisport history.

Who is Emma Pallant-Browne?

Competing under her maiden name before her marriage to South African triathlete Jaryd Browne, Emma Pallant-Browne has enjoyed plenty of success in various multisport disciplines.

Prior to this, she was a top-rated runner, having been both the European U23 cross-country champion and a bronze medallist over 1,500m at the World Junior Athletics Championships.

Having suffered a reoccurrence of a knee injury during the trials for the 5,000m for London 2012, Pallant-Browne looked elsewhere to rebuild her fitness: triathlon.

Emma Pallant-Browne celebrates winning Escape from Alcatraz in 2021 (Credit: Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Without experience in the water or on the bike, she sought the coaching know-how of Michelle Dillon. She entered the London Triathlon having barely ridden a road bike, but such was her speed on the run that she finished an extraordinary sixth in her very first race.

Since then, she’s truly riding the heights of the multisport world. A two-time world duathlon champion, along with also being the winner of the aquathlon world title, it’s been at 70.3 distance that Pallant-Browne has shown exceptional high-level consistency, thanks particularly to those superlative, usually incomparable running splits.

Her 70.3 victories now number into double figures, while she’s also racked up plenty of wins in the Challenge Family series of half-distance events. Along the way, she’s also picked up a silver and bronze at the 70.3 worlds, although the gold continues to elude her.

How old is Emma Pallant-Browne?

Emma Pallant-Browne was born on 6 April 1989, making her 33 years of age.

Emma Pallant-Browne’s career highlights

In a race where she’ll finish second, Emma Pallant-Browne competes in the run leg of Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in 2017 (Credit: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ironman)

July 2013: The novice shoots to the top of the tree

Despite taking up the sport less than a year before (at which point she’d never sat on a road bike), Pallant-Browne takes gold in the national championships in Liverpool. It’s a title she retains the following June, with victory in Windsor.

July 2014: First success on the international stage

Pallant-Browne takes an impressive third in the ETU European Cup race in Geneva, ahead of compatriots India Lee and Jess Learmonth.

October 2015: Pallant-Browne bags a world title

With two runs and no swim, duathlons are right up the former track runner’s street, as her victory at the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Adelaide attests.

The following June, Pallant-Browne retains her crown in the northern Spanish town of Avilés.

September 2016: A maiden 70.3 victory

Emma Pallant-Browne celebrates her first-ever Ironman 70.3 victory in Weymouth (Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Having made the move to middle-distance racing, Pallant-Browne secures her first IM 70.3 victory in Weymouth.

This season is something of a breakthrough for her in half-Iron competition; she makes the podium in six 70.3 races, including silver in Barcelona and Budapest.

April 2017: A first triumph in the Challenge series

Pallant-Browne takes her debut victory in a Challenge race, overcoming a strong field to break the tape in Gran Canaria having reined in the likes of fellow Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf. The margin of victory between her and her compatriot is just six seconds.

August 2017: Another discipline, another world title

In Penticton, British Columbia, Pallant-Browne adds another world crown to her collection, this time conquering the ITU Aquathlon World Championships.

September 2017: A silver at the 70.3 Worlds

Emma Pallant-Brown stands on the second step of the podium at the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship (Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

After half-Iron wins in Barcelona and Edinburgh this season, Pallant-Browne travels to Chattanooga for the IM 70.3 World Championships as one of the favourites.

However, she has to settle for silver, having conceded nine minutes to Daniela Ryf on the swim and the bike – a margin that not even Pallant-Browne’s running ability can make serious in-roads into.

October 2019: Now into double figures with 70.3 wins

Pallant-Browne takes her tenth Ironman 70.3 career victory when she wins in Lanzarote in a race shorn of the swim leg due to adverse sea conditions.

As well as climbing onto six 70.3 podiums this season, she also takes Challenge series wins in Gran Canaria and Cape Town.

September 2021: Back into the top five at the worlds

Taking a bow as she crosses the finish line, Emma Pallant-Browne celebrates winning Ironman 70.3 Boulder in 2021 (Credit: Justin Tafoya/Getty Images for Ironman)

Pallant-Browne’s season again includes plenty of half-Iron success – including victories in Florida and Boulder – but Pallant-Browne has to make do with fifth place at the IM 70.3 worlds.

Still, it’s her best finish there since that silver four years earlier, having finished in a disappointing ninth place in both 2018 and 2019.

October 2022: A brilliant 70.3 Worlds’ bronze

Although she might not see it that way having won four 70.3s (Mallorca, Luxembourg, Elsinore, and Zell am Zee) in the lead-up.

She also took silvers at the Challenge Family The Championship in May and at the  World Triathlon Long Distance Champs behind Charles-Barclay in August.

At the start of November she wins another 70.3 at Mossel Bay, South Africa.

Emma Pallant-Browne in quotes

On the faith that coach Michelle Dillon had in her when turning this track runner into a multisport titan: “What struck me was how passionate she was. Most people laughed when I told them I wanted to be a world-class athlete, but Michelle took it seriously.”

On how triathlon altered her in-competition outlook: “In my running days, I’d pull the plug in a race because I was used to winning. Triathlon has taught me I always have to fight.”

On the attraction of middle- and long-distance racing: “Because it’s non-drafting, you really have to push hard from the start of the gun for a good four hours and go to some really deep, dark places. I love it.”

What’s next for Emma Pallant-Browne?

Emma Pallant-Brown competes at Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire in 2019 (Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)

Becoming Ironman 70.3 world champ is an honour and accolade that Pallant-Browne has yet to achieve and thus remains very much within her crosshairs.

However, she’s been running Ironmans since 2018, so don’t be surprised if full-distance racing begins to fill her diary in 2023.

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Top image credit: (Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ironman)