Her name is Deanna Blegg. And she is the leading female in Australian Obstacle Racing. (Not sure what obstacle racing is? Think Tough Mudder, the Mud Run, the Spartan Race, True Grit, Raw Challenge, The Stampede…)
Blegg has won plenty of races, including first place in the 2013 World’s Toughest Mudder Race (which is a 24-hour event).
Pretty awesome achievement, huh?
Well, what’s even more amazing is that Deanna is 44 years of age, a mother of two and has been living with HIV since the age of 24.
I asked Deanna a few questions to find out more about her incredible story…
N: How did you get started in adventure racing?
D: Working as a personal trainer, I got to travel alongside many people and watch them achieve their goals. 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 60kg 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 of 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 adventure bug, though. The second year I won it and felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
Why did you cross over to Australian Obstacle Racing?
I first heard of Tough Mudder, and through that, World’s Toughest Mudder. I really wanted to do the 24-hour event. That was a goal. I finished 3rd outright and 2nd female the first year I did it, and won the female division last year. I was immediately hooked. Since then I do an obstacle race at every available opportunity.
What do you love about obstacle racing?
I love the challenge, the mud, and the fun aspect to them. Mostly what I love about the events is how fun they are. I think it is great that these type of events attract so many women and teams. The goal is not about how fast you go, but how to get through it as a team and to have fun with it.
My mum (70 years young) just recently did the Mad Cow Run in Shepparton. It was 12km long. She had never done that distance before in her life. Because the emphasis in these events is about completion, it doesn’t matter if you can run or not. It’s about getting through it while being a kid again.