Athlete Profile: Deanna Blegg
Deanna Blegg is an icon to women in the sport of obstacle racing. Her dominance on the course as well as her work outside of racing is one to be admired. We start 2015 year with a profile of her. She is a Care and Support Co-ordinator for people living with Long Term Chronic Health Conditions by profession. She also holds titles like World’s Toughest Mudder (2013) as well as a litany of other podium finishes. When not obstacle racing she can be found doing CrossFit, Yoga or competing in an Adventure Race. Here is a little bit more about Deanna…
Sponsors: Inov8. SKINS compression, Turbo Superfoods, Cyclehouse, Chalmers Private Wealth, Moxie Gear, Crossfit Diamond Valley
How did you get involved in your sport?
Working as a personal trainer I got to travel alongside many people and watch them achieve their goals. At that time I was dabbling in a bit if running and ride my bike once a week with a friend.
One of my clients, who had been 116kg wanted to run a marathon. I was inspired by her dedication and commitment. She dropped her weight down to 60 kg and ran the marathon. I was by her side the whole way. To see her and her families elation at the finish line was overwhelming. She had set an amazing goal and achieved it. I wanted a little piece if that so was soon looking for a goal of my own. I saw a flyer for the Anaconda adventure Race and said to myself. “I am going to win this”! I didn’t win it the first year. I got the bug though. The second year I won it and felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
Were you always an athlete and what are some of your achievements?
As a child I was one of those kids who loved to try everything sport wise. I had a passion for it. I was originally a swimmer. I tried out for cross country at primary school and won the school comp, zone, then state and represented the state. I hadn’t ever run trained before. I remember people asking my mum who my coach was. I was soon linked into a coach and there my love of running was developed and nurtured. Triathlons soon evolved, as I did with them, often winning both junior and senior places at aged 16 and 17. I went on to represent Australia at the 1990 commonwealth games and later the world champs. I had no coach and no idea. Just raced on pure grit and determination. Oh I wish I knew then what I know now.
I was absent in sport for over 15 years due to some health complications. So absent that I weighed 86 kg and had totally lost the plot. A goal to win an adventure race in 2006 put sport back on the radar for me. I didn’t win however a fire was lit deep inside. A desire to be the best I possibly can be. The following year i won that event and was soon achieved the title Australian adventure race champion. That fire has not died.
I raced for many years adventure racing and still do. Predominantly off shore in an Australian team.
In 2012 I first heard of Tough Mudder. Then the Worlds Toughest Mudder- a gruelling 24 hr non stop obstacle race in freezing conditions. I wanted to win the female division. In 2012 I headed across to th US and lined up with 1,400 other competitors from around the world. I started out steady and stayed steady. I was we’ll back in the field for the first few hours then bit by bit I crept my way up the leaderboard, as people dropped off or stopped for rest. I do not stop. That was my game plan. Just to keep moving. 18 hrs into it I was 3rd outright and 2nd woman. I just couldn’t believe it. Little old me in the top 3 in the world. Was so pumped. I finished in that place. Straight after finishing I set my plan for the following year as I wanted to win it. 2013 saw me victorious. Super proud!
As yet I am still undefeated in Australia and often finish in the top 10 males. I know I have a big target on my back. I like that.
Who is/are your inspiration?
I am inspired by my 98 year old Nana. She still plays Golf 3 days a week and was the oldest competitor in the World Maters Games last year. She is totally independent, still drives and doesn’t take any medication.
I asked her if she would sky dive. She said “Yes, I think I’d like to try that.” I suggested maybe for her 98th. She said “no, I’d like to do it for my 100th birthday.”
What is your most proud moment in sport?
I think when I re- entered sport at the age of 36 after 15 years absence due to health and life complications.
What is your most proud moment in life?
Having Children has got to be the most proud and amazing experience. Being HIV positive I was told I’d never be able to have children..having a dream, setting a goal and achieving, the result 2 children. That can never be replaced.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
It’s easy to overcome a bad training day. I do not follow a program or schedule. I’d not wear a watch or record anything. My training is determined the night before or the morning of. If I do not feel “right” or “good” it’s easy. I don’t train. I find listening to my body keeps me on track.
Generally, due to my years in sport and experience I do not have “bad” race days. If I was having one I imagine I’d just smile, suck it up, and get to the finish line. I do not DNF. Once I start there is no other option but to finish.
What is your training routine like?
Random, unscheduled, go with the flow, and lots of fun. It is easy for me to put in 4-6 hour training days. Because I mix my sports up so much in no time the hours have ticked over.
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
The night before a race I eat salmon, rice, and a mixed hot and cold salad. I am not a carb loader. It does not suit me to load my body with too much food. I feel heavy, lethargic, and sludgy if I was to do so. It doesn’t matter if it were a 2, 8, or 24 hr event. I fuel my body whilst racing. It seems to more effective.
The morning of an event I eat rice with salt and honey. Closer to the event I have my Turbo Superfood mix. And just before the start I eat honey. Pure raw natural nectar..lovely.
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
I love my family deeply. When I have down time it normally involves hanging out with them. My Husband and I are very actively involved with our children so we are normally out doing fun things together.
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
Find a Reason..not an excuse!