Ironwoman survives close call

Feilding woman vows to compete after scare

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 26/02/2014
Ironwoman
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ON TRACK: Feilding's Aimee Perrett competing at the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Aimee Perrett
IRON WOMAN: Aimee Perrett

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It will take more than a brain haemorrhage to stop Aimee Perrett.

The Feilding ironwoman had a "freak aneurysm" only a month ago while biking near Apiti, but is already planning on returning to competition next year.

She still has two months before she can be given the all-clear by doctors, after which she will be out training again.

Having gone to the past two world championships in Kona, Hawaii, Perrett had planned on taking this year off so she could have foot surgery, and would have missed this weekend's Taupo Ironman.

But the 47-year-old's accident has postponed that while she recovers.

She said she was lucky to be alive, because many people did not survive aneurysms.

The type of haemorrhage she had comes when a weak area in a blood vessel wall causes the blood vessel to bulge or balloon out and sometimes burst.

At the moment, she is going for walks and doing light work in the pool, but once she fully recovers it will be full steam ahead for the Taupo Ironman next year, and Kona if she qualifies.

Perrett was cycling around the Apiti loop with her friend Debbie Lardner when she felt a sharp pain in her head. They stopped at the first house. Luckily, a paramedic lived nearby and helped to get her to hospital. She was lucky she stayed conscious the whole time.

At hospital, Perrett had to go through a procedure called coiling, where doctors insert a catheter through the groin to get to the brain, where thin metal wires are put into the aneurysm to stop the bleeding.

Despite it all, she hasn't lost her sense of humour, saying she feels completely normal now.

"It's great to be alive," she said.

Perrett will have a checkup in May to make sure the coiling has repaired the problem, before she will be able to train again.

"I'll have to see how I go, even if it's half ironman for a year to get really fit. It's in your blood.

"I love the training. Even if I don't race, I can't see myself not doing the training."

She was ready to leave hospital after a week, but had to stay for 10 days. She credited her husband and sons' positive attitude with helping her recover.

This weekend she is going to Taupo to watch Ironman New Zealand along with fellow world championship competitor Sue McMaster, and to support the other Manawatu athletes.

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The pair were "really chuffed" to be recently awarded world triathlon golds for being in the top 1 per cent of Ironman athletes in the world.

Perrett wants to qualify for Kona again next year, but instead might aim for 2016 so she will move up to the next age bracket and be one of the younger competitors in it.

- Manawatu Standard

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