My life motto is to dream, believe and achieve in all that I do and I believe that anyone can if they set their mind to it.
Today I call myself a Triathlete and Ultra Marathoner.
Four years ago I didn’t know how to ride a bike and I couldn’t swim a lap of the pool.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a Pro’ triathlete. I don’t even necessarily have the talent to reach the podium in my sport, but I do have the passion and drive to achieve all the personal goals I have set for myself within triathlon and in life.
But passion and drive didn’t stop me having to face some significant hurdles in my journey from absolute novice to completing an Ironman in my first year of the sport.
Whilst training for Ironman Melbourne in 2014 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) which is an autoimmune disorder that causes pain and swelling of the joints.
Defying all odds, I completed the event!
Ironman is no mean feat even for the fittest athlete. It comprises of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and then a full 42.2km marathon. So for me to cross the finish line in a very respectable 14 hours and 7 minutes was a HUGE accomplishment. Especially when you consider that most people diagnosed with RA to the degree I have it are rarely able to get out of bed in the morning.
I did actually end up in hospital at the completion of the event for a week and a half.
However I am not a quitter and I refuse to give up, no matter how hard and crappy my RA is so since that Ironman moment I have also competed in a bunch of events including the 50km 2016 Great Ocean Rd Ultra Marathon, 50kms of the 2016 Surf Coast 100 as part of a team of two and I have a big list ahead of me for 2017 – including another Ironman.
So now I find myself giving back to my sport.
Two years ago I took on the role of President of the Bayside Triathlon Club which is one of the biggest Triathlon Clubs in Victoria with over 500 members. This has been no easy task, but it is one that I love and am extremely passionate about.
In two years we have increased total membership by 30% and female membership by 40% – which I’m really proud of.
I’m also now on the board of Triathlon Victoria which enables me to further encourage and promote the participation of Women into our sport.
I am an everyday person with the positive attitude and drive to succeed in all that I do. I also have a proven track record in “getting things done” both in my personal and professional life. I never take on something I don’t believe I can whole heartedly achieve at and I have I made a commitment to myself to always give back to the things that make me happy.
Many people believe that being recognised for what you do is a result of the place you get in a race. For me it’s about being in the race and representing what you believe in. Not only in triathlon but in day to day life.
My goals range from something as simple as getting out of bed, to something as big as racing Ironman.
I am proof that anyone who has the drive, commitment and determination to achieve something can be recognised for it. You’ve just got to ask yourself what do you want to be recognised for?
By Sonia Dunne, Triathlete @sonia_D2277