108: Anna Grealish: Overcoming Grief and Healing Through Triathlon

ByJoanne Murphy |

Anna Grealish is the Women in Sport and Youth Programme Lead with Triathlon Ireland, she has been involved in the sport of triathlon for many years, initially as an athlete and for the past nine years as an integral staff member of the Governing Body in Ireland. Returning to racing last year following the birth of her youngest child she shares lots of insight into her role within Triathlon Ireland and some of the many projects she has been involved with.

Coach, coach developer and a driver of change, she has worked in the area of triathlon development with clubs, schools, juniors, age group athletes and coaches to develop and grow the sport of triathlon in Ireland. Anna has been central to the development of the Tri Heroes and Tri Captains programmes for young athletes.  With a particular passion for women in sport she leads the women in sport programme for Triathlon Ireland and was elected to the Europe Triathlon Development Committee three years ago, subsequently leading on a number of European projects.


As an athlete Anna enjoyed a wealth of success; National Duathlon Champion in 2011, she was the 2013 winner of Hell of the West and winner of the Triathlon Ireland National Series in the same year.  Racing at home and abroad she clocked up an impressive number of podium finishes across a variety of duathlon and triathlon races over the years, her most recent podium finish was at Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon Sprint Race in May of this year.


Away from triathlon, Anna and her husband Máirtín have a busy household with three children, Saoirse, Jude and Annie all under 8 years of age.  Sadly in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, Anna endured profound personal losses and grief, losing her mum to cancer and shortly after baby Joseph was unexpectedly stillborn at 38 weeks, both devastating losses for Anna, Máirtín and their extended families. Anna courageously shares her story with us on how she coped with the compounded trauma following the death of her mum and her baby, turning to sport and physical activity as a means of healing and dealing with the grief she experienced.

This episode may be triggering for some listeners, but Anna’s resilience and story is very powerful and may be of help to others.  

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