Otago Professor finds success in Samoa

By Seti Afoa ,

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Professor Alison Heather of Otago University celebrates her victory after being declared the winner of the Warrior Race late on Saturday afternoon.

Professor Alison Heather of Otago University celebrates her victory after being declared the winner of the Warrior Race late on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Scottie T Photography)

It is not often an academic professor competes in events in Samoa.  But that is exactly what happened on Saturday during the Warrior Race at Lalomanu. 

Professor Alison Heather of Otago University ran and finished her Warrior Race. 

Alison won after Lauren Hann who crossed first, was found to have missed a turn.

Alison won after Lauren Hann who crossed first, was found to have missed a turn.

She was the second female to cross the line, which she won after a race review.

Alison registered for the Warrior Race earlier this year. Her goal was just to finish. 

Alison won after Lauren Hann who crossed first, was found to have missed a turn.
Alison won after Lauren Hann who crossed first, was found to have missed a turn.

She did just that, coming in last in a field of nine men and two women. 

But on race review, she was declared the winner late on Saturday afternoon. She completed the entire course and ran a hare’s race and got to the finish in the end. 

Lauren Hann who crossed first, was found to have missed a turn. Hann was strong all day and looked machine-like particularly in the run, but she completely missed a turn in the bike leg which meant a new winner in the women’s race. 

It is more success for an already high achiever. Alison is a lecturer and Research fellow at the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago. 

She travelled to Samoa with her husband, Allan, who is also a professor at Otago, specifically to compete in the Warrior Race. Her field of study investigates how atherosclerosis is influenced by the sex hormones, androgens and estrogens. 

The major focus is trying to understand why younger men suffer earlier onset and more severe disease than younger women. The other focus of the research is trying to understand why estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy can have adverse cardiovascular effects in some women.

Alison was shy of words at her trophy presentation. “I really enjoyed it out there today. It was a great race.” 

Husband Allan kept a close eye on proceedings and helped Alison with her nutrition during the race. It is the first time both have come to Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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