For Elle Goodall triathlon is not just a sport, but a lifesaving tool that has helped her lose 120 kilograms.
Returning to Julia Creek this weekend for her second Dirt n Dust, this Mount Isa woman is brimming with determination.
Just four weeks after gastric sleeve surgery in November 2015, Elle was on the treadmill and dreaming of being in a triathlon.
She said surgery was a drastic but necessary decision, and not the quick fix than many people assume.
“I’ve met people who have had weight loss surgery and gained it all back because they haven’t changed their lifestyle.
”I said to myself ’that is not going to be me’,” Elle said.
This seed of determination lead to an intense training schedule for her first triathlon in 2016, with help from her coach Vicki Nicholson.
“I didn’t really believe that I could because I was still a big girl at that stage.”
“But Vicki said, ‘I can have you doing triathlon in a month, no problem’,” Elle said.
Sure enough, one month later Elle completed the ‘enticer’ distance at IsaRATS’ Race to the Creek at Lake Moondarra.
Then it was Julia Creek’s Dirt n Dust in April, where Elle will return this weekend for a triumphant finish.
“I’m hoping for a podium spot this year,” she said.
Her highlight of 2016 though was the olympic length triathlon in Noosa, which she said was like nothing she had experienced.
“Everything about Noosa was just absolutely amazing, I can’t even describe it, it was overwhelming.”
“From not even being able to walk for 15 minutes to being able to run 10 kilometres non-stop, no problem, was huge,” Elle said.
Elle’s parents were there to cheer her on, no longer in fear of losing their daughter to weight related illness.
“As I crossed that finish line my mum was just bawling her eyes out, she was so emotional, she didn’t want to let go of me, she just kept saying ‘I’m so proud of you’,” Elle said.
That was also the moment Elle decided to enter her first Iron Man competition in Cairns this June.
“People have asked me how I stay motivated and honestly, I think it’s because I just keep setting these goals,” Elle said.