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IronMan Woman Champions Environment & Human Rights

Iron Man Woman Champions Environment And Human Rights

She’s recently become the first woman to crack three hours for the marathon in New Zealand ironman racing history, covering the grueling 42.2 kilometres in just over 2hrs 59mins. That was after a personal best time in the 3.8km swim and a 180km bike ride at the 20th annual Ironman New Zealand in Taupo.

It was a great start to the competitive career in New Zealand of PhD student and research assistant Jessica Draskau-Petersson, who’s shifted to Hamilton from the UK to study at Waikato University’s School of Law.

Her performance at the Ironman New Zealand triathlon was all the more impressive given that a bike accident, which left her with a broken collar bone, meant she’d only been able to train for about six weeks prior to the event.

She was already the British universities women’s marathon champion and was placed 22nd at the world triathlon champs in Hawaii last year. “I plan to go back to the world champs in Hawaii next year and I’m hoping for a place in the top 15.”

But, while she’s very focused on her sports training, Jessica is also very committed to human rights and the environment. It’s a commitment reflected in her choice of PhD study.

Jessica’s preparing to study biodiversity in inland waterways, such as lakes, rivers and some coastal waters, and how those waterways should be managed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, as suggested under the international Convention on Biodiversity. She’s considering three potential case studies in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

How did she get involved in this area? “Given my commitment to human rights and protecting the environment, this area of study had a sort of crossover between the two so I was attracted to it.”

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