How a world champion triathlete earned an Oscar nomination

Lesley Paterson and writing partner Ian Stokell attend the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles last month.

(CNN)It's while running in the moors and hills of her native Scotland that Lesley Paterson sometimes sees her two careers become conveniently aligned.

A professional triathlete and screenwriter, Paterson has long inhabited two livelihoods that, on the surface, seem worlds apart. But in the quiet moments of a windswept run or a long bike ride, the occasional flash of inspiration can form the basis of her best ideas for film scripts.
She counts among those the opening scenes of the Oscar-nominated "All Quiet on the Western Front," an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war novel of the same name published in 1929.
    The film begins in the trenches of the First World War, where much of the action is situated, before we are soon transported to a provincial town in Germany. There, Paul Bäumer -- a young army recruit and the story's protagonist -- notices how his new military uniform carries the name tag of another solider.
      Unbeknownst to Bäumer, who is awkwardly told that the clothes were too small for their intended recipient, the soldier has apparently been killed in the war and his uniform recycled.
        "It really sort of encapsulates the entire message of the film -- that the uniform's more important than the man," Paterson tells CNN Sport.
        "It's just one of those moments where you know it's good and you think: 'Oh my God ... where did this come from?' You feel so lucky that you've thought of it."
          The scene, first visualized on a run in the Scottish Highlands, proved prescient. Last year, Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine complained of having to buy their own uniforms amid a shortage of basic equipment.
          "If we can hold up a mirror to what's going on to try and prevent more from happening, that truly is my goal as a storyteller -- to effect change," says Paterson.
          Felix Kammerer stars as Paul Bäumer in "All Quiet on the Western Front."
          First portrayed on screen in a much-loved Hollywood film nearly 100 years ago, "All Quiet" focuses on the tragedy and ruin of war, eschewing any notions of heroism or adventure.
          Paterson, alongside writing partner Ian Stokell, got the option to the rights in 2006 but had to wait until 2020 before Netflix commissioned it as a German-language film.
          The end product, which includes a new narrative strand focused on the Armistice Talks between German and French officials, captures the bloodshed and horror of the world's first mechanized war in chilling detail.
          It has been met with great critical acclaim, receiving nine Oscar nominations -- including for best adapted screenplay -- and a record-equaling 14 BAFTA nominations.
          The BAFTA awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, while the Oscars take place on March 13 -- two events that, for Paterson, will cap off years of hard work, stress and dogged resolve.
          A five-time world champion across two formats of off-road triathlon, she relied on her sporting career as a source of income when it came to renewing the option contract each year, even to the extent that she forced herself to race through injury and acute pain.
          That was in 2016, when Paterson fell off her bike and broke her shoulder the day before she was due to compete in Costa Rica. Partly devastated by the thought of not racing and partly overwhelmed by pain, she started to search for a solution.
          With the help of her husband and her physio, she discovered she could still run and was able to ride her bike by propping her arm on the handlebars, leaving only the mile-long sea swim to consider.
          "I do a lot of one-arm drills," says Paterson. "I was always really good at it and I've got a very strong leg kick. I practiced in the ocean and I was like: 'Well, I can do one arm, let's give this a shot.'"
          After finishing the swim some 15 minutes behind the rest of the field, Paterson made up ground on the 40-kilometer mountain bike section before taking the lead on the 10-kilometer run.
          "I just kind of kept on going," she says. "And then I ran off into the forest and it was just an exercise in perseverance and thinking outside the box. I had to get something done."
          Triathlete Lesley Paterson competes for Great Britain in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2012.
          The experience, itself worthy of a film script, was emblematic of the way Paterson approached triathlon throughout her life.
          "I don't know if that's the sort of Scottish underdog mentality or if it's just truly I'm driven by a joy and passion and not so worried about outcomes," she says. "I'm a very sort of passionate, heart-driven athlete."
          Paterson has mostly competed on the XTERRA cross-triathlon series -- "all off-road and muddy and gritty and out in nature," she says -- having previously missed out on qualifying for the Olympics with Great Britain at the start of her career.