pregnancy

Turia Pitt knows what it's like to start from scratch. Now she's teaching mums how to do the same.

In 2011 when Turia Pitt was in hospital having just suffered horrific burns to 65 per cent of her body, the then 24-year-old set herself a goal. 

She was going to enter an Ironman competition. 

"I've got such a beautiful family. My mum ripped out a photo of a triathlete from a magazine and stuck it on the wall and every morning when Michael, my partner, would come to hospital he'd be like 'hey you've got to get up and do your training if you want to do this Ironman [competition],'" a now 33-year-old Turia told Mamamia. 

WATCH: Turia Pitt has been to hell and back recovering from catastrophic injuries. Post continues after video.


Video via 60 Minutes.

"I don't know if at the time they thought I would really do an Ironman, I think they just used it as a vehicle to motivate me and to help me work towards something positive," she added. 

It was while running WA's Kimberley Ultramarathon that the NSW South Coast local became trapped in the flames of a grass fire. 

Doctors didn't expect her to survive her injuries. She's spent the last 10 years having her face, hands and body reconstructed, all while growing and birthing two babies - Hakavai, three, and Rahiti, who turns one this month.

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Turia knows intimately what it means to start from scratch not just after being catastrophically burnt, but also after childbirth. It's why she feels like she's in the perfect position to spearhead a running program for mums. 

"You know how if someone really fit is telling you how to be fit and part of you is like 'okay that's cool' but another part of you is thinking 'yeah but you're already fit. You don't understand what it's like for me'," Turia told Mamamia.

"I really understand because it was only eight years ago I had to learn how to walk again, stand again, run again. And the first time I ran, I ran five metres because that was all I had in me. So I really have been at that real beginner spot, but I've also been at that spot where I've entered a 30km mountain run after having a baby. So I think I've got some real practical and useful insights into not just running, but running as a beginner, and doing that with kids." 

Turia's new program 'RUN with Turia' opened for enrolments in February 2021, and offers mums three options - training for a 5km run, 10km run or a half-marathon (21kms). 

It's something the author, motivational speaker and former mining engineer has been thinking about launching for some time now because running is such a huge part of who she is. It's her de-stress, her mood balancer and her 'me time'. 

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Australia watched on inspired as Turia went from lying in a hospital bed to competing on the track once again. But now she wants to help more people get off the sidelines and join her as she starts from scratch all over again at 12 months postpartum.

"My family is always going to come first, but I really want to have running as a really close second," Turia told Mamamia. "I wanted a program like this after I had my baby. I wanted some accountability and some guidelines, but at the same time I wanted a group of people around me who really got where I was at in my life at the time."

Like many women who enter motherhood for the first time, Turia's felt the crushing reality of the pressure heaped on new mums.

"That's pressure from society, but also ourselves that we want to 'get back into it' and get fit again and be able to make time for our partner and cook really great meals for our family. After I had my first son, I probably was quite hard on myself and that urge to not let my son interrupt the flow of my life, which I realise is such a ridiculous thing to want. Because how the hell can your life go back to how it was before you've had a kid?"

Since having her youngest Rahiti smack bang between the devastating bushfires of last summer and a global pandemic, Turia has been a lot gentler on herself second time around. 

A month before Rahiti was born, Turia's hometown of Ulladulla in NSW was surrounded by bushfire. 

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LISTEN: Turia Pitt on Mamamia's parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. Post continues after podcast.


"I think when the bushfires were happening down here on the South Coast, that was obviously really triggering for me. We had embers in our backyard and the power was cut. I had my toddler at home and I was eight months pregnant. I was so self-absorbed, I was ruminating and obsessing about how the fires were affecting me," she shared.

Rahiti arrived on February 9, 2020, and a month later the COVID-19 pandemic entered Australia in full force. Suddenly Turia and her young family had nothing but time. 

"It forced me to slow down and take stock and to saviour my life and enjoy and relish the time with my baby. So I am thankful for that. No one enjoys a pandemic. But it allowed me to spend that time with my kids reflecting on the awesome things I have in my life," she told Mamamia.

Rahiti has had a much quieter welcome to the world - only visiting home, the hospital and relatives' houses in 2020, unlike his older brother who Turia took with her to Adelaide, Tasmania, Perth, and overseas to Hawaii, France, and the Maldives.

But this time around, Turia isn't questioning whether it's the right way to parent. 

"I think I am more relaxed with the second kid and I think that's had an effect on Rahiti because I am not like 'Oh my god, he's been asleep for three hours, what should I do?' I just let him do his thing and he's a much more relaxed baby in general. I've enjoyed motherhood second time around," she said.

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This newfound sense of being able to re-prioritise what she wants to keep (and not keep) has had other flow-on effects too. 

For Christmas just gone, Turia had the entire event catered at her family home.

"We had the best Christmas ever. I didn't have to be in the kitchen cooking all day," she said. 

Now, a few days out from celebrating Rahiti's first birthday, Turia is ready to get back to her other true love - running. 

As she told Mamamia, "If I don't carve out that little pocket of time in the day to do something for myself I end up probably not being the best parent that I can be."

"Usually, I'm scraping myself quietly through the front door of my house before either of my kids wake up, with someone's spare toast crust in my pocket, and my phone on 50 per cent battery," she added on her Instagram.

It's this kind of non-judgemental, no bulls**t honesty Turia is hoping to cultivate in a community of running mothers, who like her, just want to reclaim a little 'me time' away from the rat race of parenting. 

She'd love you to join her.

You can join Turia Pitt's running program here. 

Feature image: Instagram @turiapitt.