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Triathlete proudly shares ‘beautiful’ racing photo where she bled through swimsuit while on her period

‘This is a true female sport and the more barriers we can break through the better,’ she wrote on Instagram

Amber Raiken
New York
Monday 05 June 2023 07:56 BST
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Related: Highlights from the PTO European Open in Ibiza

A triathlete has proudly shared a “beautiful” photo from a recent race, in which she bled through her bodysuit while on her period.

Emma Pallant-Browne took to Instagram last week to share a photo from a race on 19 May, as she was competing in the PTO European Open triathlon in Ibiza, Spain. In the picture, she had a small blood stain on the bottom of her pink and blue swimsuit, as she was on her period. Her post came after the photo first went viral earlier this month, when it was shared by Professional Triathletes Organisation’s (PTO) Instagram.

In the caption, Pallant-Browne expressed her gratitude for her peers, who have reached out to her to praise the image and its meaning.

“Humbled by the amount of messages I’ve had from both men and women (I am going to give menstrual cups another go) about the unglamorous reality of racing on your period,” she wrote. “This is a true female sport and the more barriers we can break through the better.”

She explained why she wore a swimsuit for this race, noting that while she usually “overheats and passes out in hot races”, being on her period also makes her body temperature higher.

“I have a full length suit for the cooler races in dark colours but the light colours we were experimenting with for the cooling effect,” she continued.

She then acknowledged why she didn’t crop out the blood stain, since “the idea to edit [the picture] means there is something wrong with it”.

“If you wrote to me saying 99% of the women you know would be mortified at this then that is exactly why I am sharing this, because there really is nothing wrong,” Pallant-Brown wrote.

She also opened up about her menstrual cycle throughout her childhood, before expressing her appreciation for her period and the image.

“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,” the athlete added. “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.”

In the comments of her post, many fellow athletes and fans celebrated Pallant-Browne’s message.

“Love this! I love having a period as it represents what we as women are capable of,” triathlete Skye Moench wrote. “And it’s a sign that our bodies are strong and fully functioning!!”

Olympian Steph Twell added: “My gal! So proud of you continuing to be you Em! Fearlessly fantastically female xox.”

Before the athlete shared this message, one Instagram user had questioned the photo, when it was first posted on PTO’s Instagram. In the since-deleted comment, which was shared by The Female Project’s Instagram account, the person claimed that this wasn’t “the most flattering pic” of Pallant-Browne and that it could be cropped “a bit better”.

Pallant-Browne didn’t hesitate to respond to the remark. As she thanked the Instagram user for “caring”, she also said that she’s not “shy” when talking about periods, since “it’s the reality of females in the sport”. She then explained how her menstrual cycle has impacted her running career.

“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,” she wrote. “No matter what tampon I have experimented with, for anything over three hours, it’s too heavy.”

She concluded: “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.”

The Independent has contacted Pallant-Browne for comment.

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