Hundreds gathered and squeezed inside the Lyon Park Community Center while others listened from the porches outside the morning of Saturday, April 21 to celebrate the life of Arlington resident Anne Viviani.
On April 9, while returning from a duathlon national-championship-qualifying event in South Carolina with her husband Donn, Anne Viviani was killed at the scene when the car she was riding in was struck by a deer on Interstate 85 near Greer, S.C. She was 68.
Anne Viviani was the passenger. The accident occurred when a deer jumped the median barrier, striking the vehicle, breaking through the windshield and hitting Anne Viviani. Donn was driving and was not injured.
For two decades, Viviani was one of the country’s and world’s most highly-accomplished triathletes, duathletes, aquathletes, multisport athletes and more – winning multiple national and world age-group individual and team competitions.
Many attending the April 21 service were dressed in running attire and bright colors, as the family suggested, to honor Anne. Pictures and newspaper articles about Viviani’s accomplishments were displayed throughout the center that morning.
Family members and friends spoke at the ceremony in remembering Viviani, including her husband, Donn, as well as her children Anne, Donn, Will and Tony.
One of Anne’s sisters, Agnus, explained that Anne was very competitive, even making her own English muffins, “from scratch.”
Her brother Bill talked about Anne’s spirit.
In explaining how the family played a “leaning game” they created, Will Viviani said, “Mom would hold you up no matter what.”
Anne also was described by her husband as “always smiling” and the “most nonjudgemental person I’ve ever met.”
Donn Viviani handed out more than a hundred ball caps from national and world championship events the couple received for participating in over the years.
“Anne kept telling me to donate the hats. I don’t wear hats and Anne said, ‘I only have one head.’ I’m glad I didn’t give them away,” Donn said.
As the ceremony ended, Donn thanked a man named Ron, who attended the ceremony. Ron was following the Viviani’s car when the accident occurred. He pulled the deer off of Anne and out of the car, then pulled Anne out of the car and started CPR.
“This fellow is a true hero,” Donn said.
It was learned at the ceremony that USA Triathlon is naming an award in Anne Viviani’s honor. It will be called the Anne Viviani Great Grandmaster Award.
“She would have been thrilled – and confused – because she really didn’t know how good she was,” Donn said.
Anne Viviani also will be remembered at the June 10 Arlington Triathlon.
Longtime Yorktown High School cross country and track and field coach Mark Stripe attended the April 21 ceremony. He coached the Viviani children at Yorktown.
Stripe remembered how supportive Anne Viviani was as a parent, then was impressed how she became a standout athlete herself after her kids had pretty much finished competing in high school.
A video of the tributes from the service can be found at: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPZZnF_IuCH5llJTvwvcbOc-rYsBQq_U6hgS_ySnag_PG-iS9bprz-_W1-kvOaGQA?key=UDdPX0xVMHFrS2lNV29vX3plOGRFejZUZzVuNm1B
Anne Viviani represented the U.S. in 37 world championships and eventually won three age-group world championships representing the United States in the long-distance (100-mile) triathlon. In addition, she earned two world silver medals and four world bronze medals in triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon. Viviani won nine national championships in triathlon and duathlon. She won the first race she ever entered, a 10K.
In 2002, she was part of a cycling team that raised money for Zonta International, a women’s-advocacy organization. The team won the Race Across America that year. The women rode their bikes in relay from Portland, Ore. to Pensacola, Fla., in seven days and 14 hours.
Viviani participated in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon three times. In 2012 Anne and Donn won their age groups in the Beach to Battleship Ironman. Anne beat her husband by more than an hour, and her time would have defeated the male champion as well.
Viviani had four children – daughter Anne and sons Donn, Will and Tony – and three grandchildren.