British athlete Emma Pallant-Browne is championing the realities of getting a period as a female in sport after receiving criticism for her race photos.
The photos in question showed a spot of blood on Pallant-Browne’s race uniform as she competed in The Professional Triathletes Organisation’s European Open in Ibiza.
Nevermind that she finished the triathlon in an impressive fourth place, some men on the internet just couldn’t get over the blood.
One male triathlete, Xavier Coppock, commented on her Instagram photo saying: “Not the most flattering pic of @em_pallant – surely you can crop it a bit better”.
Giving a powerful response, Pallant-Browne wrote back, telling him, “thanks for caring but definitely something I’m not shy to talk about because it’s the reality of females in sport”.
“My period comes over a month in between and there will be one day where it is super heavy. I pray it won’t be race day but every now and then it is. No matter what tampon I have experimented with, for anything over 3hrs it’s too heavy.”
“So just as someone might get gut issues in a race I have to suck it up and give what I have and not be afraid to talk to women who have the same problem.”
A decorated athlete, Pallant-Browne has won 18 half ironman championships, podiumed 33 times and claimed silver in the world championships.
For her tactful response to the online criticism, Pallant-Browne garnered a lot of support and followed up her comment with an Instagram post detailing the reality of sport for those who menstruate, saying, “This is true female sport and the more barriers we can break through the better”.
“If you wrote to me saying 99% of the women you know would be mortified at this then that is exactly why I’m sharing it, because there is nothing wrong” she wrote.
“It’s natural and coming from eating issues as an endurance runner when I was growing up where I didn’t have my period, I now see it as beautiful.”
“So if you have a photo like this, save it, cherish it, remember how you performed on a tough day because one day you might just be able to help someone else with it.”