Australian runner Turia Pitt suffered severe burns in 65% of her body after being trapped in a bushfire during a race in 2011. She was told she would never be able to compete again. After 200 operations, she was able to participate in the Hawaii Ironman triathlon, completing 226km (140 miles).
Turia was hailed as an inspirational role model for her participation in one of the toughest races on the planet. The results were astounding with Turia completing a 3.8k swim; a 180 km bike ride; and a 43km run in a time of 14:37:30.
Apart from being an athlete, Ms. Pitt is a mining engineer, author, and motivational speaker. The unfortunate encounter with the bushfire back in 2011 made it difficult for rescuers to reach here due to the fire fence.
Barely alive, she was taken by helicopter to a hospital and had to spend 864 days hospitalized. Her chances of survival were minimal.
“Doctors told me I would never run again and that was a massive moment for me. You know, I was 24 years old, my whole life was ahead of me and I’d always prided myself and drawn a lot of my self-belief from my athletic ability,” Turia shared.
Refusing to let the doctors’ words affect her or to let her new body’s limitations define her, Turia set her mind in competing in the world’s toughest single day endurance event. After a fruitful recovery, she did.
She wore special race clothing in the competition to deal with humidity and the extreme heat. “Because of my burns, I can’t regulate my own body temperature so I’ve had to make some adjustments,” she revealed. “Or use standard tri gear in different ways.“
“I’m going to need things like cooling sleeves and white suits so I don’t overheat.”
Her stellar participation in the Ironman Australia triathlon was well received and seen as an example of motivation and personal success. Turia shared her enthusiasm at participating in the event saying: “Competing in Ironman has ultimately showed me that I literally can do anything I put my mind to.”