Diane Travis is known for her competitive spirit. She is, after all, a world and national champion duathlete who must run, bike and run again. But this year, Travis is bringing a special dedication to her sport. That’s because she is dedicating her races to the memory of a dear friend and fellow athlete, Anne Viviani, who died in a freak accident after last year’s national duthalon competition.
Travis, a Clermont city council member and owner of Travis Realty Group, first met Viviani in 2000 in Calais, France, when the two ended up at the same bed and breakfast during the World Duathlon Championships. They did not compete in the same age group, but they saw each other at many of the national and international competitions after that.
When the two, friendly competitors attended the 2018 National Duathlon Championship in Greenville, S.C., the weather conditions were miserable – rainy and cold. Travis was glad to medal and then head home.
While Travis was heading back to Clermont, Viviani was riding back to her home in Arlington, Va., where she lived with her husband, Donn, and their four children. With Donn at the wheel, they were traveling on I-85 when a large deer ran across the highway and crashed into Anne’s passenger seat, killing her instantly.
Viviani was remembered by friends and family as someone who was a fierce competitor but also extremely kind. She sometimes crossed the finish line late because she would stop to help another athlete.
As this season approached, Travis decided that she would honor her friend by dedicating her races to Viviani.
“Anne was always smiling,” Travis said. “So, no matter how hard the race and no matter how much I hurt, I will smile thinking of how she raced.”
That kind of dedication was on display last weekend, as Travis raced at the Cherrylake Farm Races and won first place in her age group.