London 2012 Olympics preview: Ex-UEA student Jess Draskau Petersson to run marathon for Denmark
Danish marathon runner Jess Draskau Petersson will take her own slice of Norfolk around the London Olympics course – and while her motivation for competing may be tinged with sadness, she hopes 2012 will be the sign of things to come.
The 34-year-old, who has dual Danish and Isle of Man nationality, studied for an English and German law and language degree at the University of East Anglia before going on to complete politics and law in America and New Zealand.
While at the UEA, Jess was a member of the university running club and competed in sports championships between universities and cross country – being named UEA sportsperson of the year in 2000: an honour to sit with her Isle of Man sportsperson of the year titles from 2003 and 2005.
She has competed for the UK at elite level triathlon and duathlon – but will wear the Danish uniform in London.
Draskau Petersson has certainly been in the wars too. During training for her marathon and ironman competitions she was hit five times in three years by cars and motorbikes – one accident in 2007 saw her require surgery on her knee, and prevented her from competing for four years.
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But she made her return to action last year – and will complete a dramatic turnaround this summer.
'I began training again because my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's – I was sad that there was nothing I could do for him, and I had the idea to focus my energy into sport,' she said. 'I hoped that if I could qualify for the Olympics, it would be a positive moment to share. Sadly this will not be possible now due to the progression of his condition.
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'But after the Olympics, I would like to compete in World and European Championships and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.'
The women's marathon through central London takes place on Sunday, August 5 from 11am.
• Follow Jessica's progress on Twitter @jdpLondon2012 – where you can also get in touch if you can help her need for sponsorship in London and for her future marathon hopes.