I’m a Runner: Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally Fitzgibbons, 24, Gerroa, NSW

Australian pro surfer, 2014 Billabong Rio Pro and Fiji Pro winner

“Running and surfing both make any problems you may have just melt away.”

I started running to keep myself out of trouble with my brothers, but also to keep up with them playing soccer and touch football. By the time I started Little Athletics and cross-country at the age of eight, I was raring to go.

Winning gold in the 800m and 1500m at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympics was definitely the pinnacle of my running career. It was my last ever track event and I still think back and picture it.

Surfing began to blossom for me and I had to decide to focus all of my efforts on just one sport. I still run everyday I can for cross training, plus it helps blow off the jet lag when I’m on the road.

Running and surfing both make any problems you may have just melt away. You need the explosive leg power of a sprinter when you are on a wave and the engine of a middle distance runner for the long paddles back out.

It’s too hard to choose one place I’ve loved running most – the Great Wall of China, the snowy trails in Nova Scotia, the volcanic peaks in Hawaii or on a deserted Mexican island we caught a little fishing boat to for a surf trip.

I get so much stimulation from TV and radio; it’s great to just be in tune with the environment when I’m running. I love listening to the ocean, birds or even the sounds of a city.

Being lactose intolerant rules out a few food groups when fuelling up. My main go-to snacks are fruit, vegetables, free-range eggs from our farm and other quality proteins to keep me going.

My last fun run was the 12K Run Wollongong. It meant a lot to be an ambassador and help raise funds for the Wollongong Hospital Children’s Ward.

I am really excited by the opportunity to join the Perpetual Loyal team for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. It will be an opportunity to learn more about the ocean.

I like to have a project for the offseason and always have some big fun run events on my calendar. But in the meantime, I need to just keep having the will to push myself to the limits and improving my surfing. The next step is to become World Champion!

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