She is smart. She is strong. Turia is an overcomer!
Two years ago, Turia Pitt had the perfect life. She had landed the job of her life with Rio Tinto, a gorgeous man by her side and was a self-confessed fitness freak. Then in September of 2011 during a 100km ultra-marathon she was trapped in a grassfire suffering burns to about 65 per cent of her body.
LIZ: What does your name Turia mean?
T: ‘Goddess of the ocean’ - it’s Tahitian.
LIZ: as a little girl what did you dream of becoming?
T: My brother was a pro-surfer and I looked up to him… so of course this meant I wanted to be a pro-surfer too. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as skilled as he was!
LIZ: How do you overcome when life throws you big, big lemons?
T: I often get asked how I overcame my adversity. And for me, I always feel stronger when I am stronger. So lying there in that hospital bed, I was down, I was depressed, and I felt worthless. I was injured in a 100km ultra marathon... and now I couldn’t even walk five metres. So I set myself tiny goals: learn how to sit in a chair, learn how to roll over, learn how to sit up in bed. And the stronger I became physically, the stronger I became emotionally, and the stronger I became mentally. I found that piece of inner strength that we all have – all of us – inside of me. And I think that if this had not happened to me, I would never know how strong I really was.
LIZ: What has been the hardest thing you have had to cope with?
T: My loss of independence. Being in hospital was such a hard concept to grapple with. I was an independent and vivacious woman… and there I was, totally dependent on the people around me. I couldn’t walk, talk, feed myself - I couldn’t even scratch myself. Each bit of independence that I regain feels like I’m clawing my way back into life - it’s a good feeling.
LIZ: Can you tell Bella the most valuable lesson you have learnt?
T: To not take the people around you for granted. I was guilty of doing this before my injury. Life matters, health matters and your loved ones matter. Never take the people you love for granted. These are the people who will stick by you, support you and believe in you.
LIZ: If time was reversed would you like to live as Turia-before or Turia-after?
T: We can’t change time, just like we can’t reverse time. So I think for me, it’s not helpful to look at the past. I look towards the future instead.
LIZ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Competing in Ironman events. Travelling around the world giving motivational talks. And having a beautiful family with Michael. What a dream life!