Lauren Barnett returned to triathlon in 2018 after taking time out for a very important moment in her life - the birth of her first child Beckham.
But since coming back to professional competition she has once again showed admirable consistency at the highest level.
Lauren finished seventh at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz and third at Augusta in 2018, before adding further top-10 finishes at 70.3 in Texas, Chattanooga, Victoria and Steelhead in 2019.
Barnett then travelled to Nice for the 70.3 World Championship and finished 35th, before making it back-to-back third-place finishes at Augusta.
In part one of her career, Lauren had claimed four victories in IRONMAN 70.3 competition, at Augusta (clearly a happy hunting ground) and New Orleans in 2014 and then in Root and Raleigh in 2016. That Raleigh success was physically the most painful of her career to date.
“There were mere seconds between first and second, when I was racing with Meredith Kessler. She and I were pushing each other to the limit in very intense heat and humidity,” says Barnett.
“Every moment counted, and it took every ounce of energy to get to that finish line first. It was a very special win as Meredith is someone I look up to so much in this sport, as an athlete and as a person.”
Lauren, who is based in Kansas City, is well known for her excellent cycling prowess and had initially turned professional in 2013 after an undefeated season as an elite amateur.
‘Lou’ first got into the sport when a friend asked if she wanted to do a race together. She competed using “a hybrid mountain bike with not much air in the tyres, a swimsuit with a baggy T-shirt underneath and huge red shorts”. But she admits that race changed the course of her life and he hasn’t looked back since.
The triathlon community is something that Lauren really loves, explaining: “there is always somebody to take you under their wing, always things to learn and improve upon”.
In terms of inspirational heroes and role models Lauren looks no further than her mother, explaining: “She battled through breast cancer and taught me so much about what it means to be strong, humble, determined, persistent, positive etc through that journey.”