You have to hand it to Turia Pitt. The newly minted Ironwoman seems made of steel. Ever since sustaining burns to 65 per cent of her body in a wildfire that overtook an ultra marathon in Western Australia, her determination has become the stuff of legend.
The Mollymook triathlete has inspired others all over the country, including at the Shoalhaven Women’s Conference, where she amazed the audience with her fighting spirit.
Her completion of the Ironman tournament in Port Macquarie would be a huge achievement for most ordinary folk.
Imagine it: a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run.
Turia smashed her target time, saying she was fitter going into this event than she was in the fateful ultra marathon in the Kimberley. But, really, her stamina and determination in her sporting endeavours tell only part of her story.
This month she is due to lead a tour of the Kokoda Track as part of her fundraising work for Interplast, a charity that helps burns victims in developing countries.
She donates 10 per cent of the income she earns as a sought-after motivational speaker to the charity.
Her blog, Overcoming Adversity, offers some wonderful insights into how this incredible person views life and has kept going when many others would have given up.
She outlines the challenges of learning to accept her disfigurement, living life with three fingers, competing in endurance events without the ability to regulate her body temperature and having to face ongoing operations.
She doesn't point to any one thing that has got through the challenges but lists several she thinks together have helped. They are wellbeing, sleep, the support of family and friends and the professional help of a psychologist.
Most important, probably, is her mantra, which all of us from time to time could draw succour from: “For my ‘bad days’, I have a mantra, which I say to myself over and over – ‘I may feel bad today, but I won’t always feel this way.’” She also says surrounding herself with “glass half full” people has also been important because negativity is “contagious”.
This latest achievement in what has been an extraordinary journey adds another layer to the inspiration Turia has bestowed on those around her. The Times speaks for the whole community when we say how proud we are.
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