THE COMEBACK KID
uria Pitt has always been driven by goals. There was the goal to simply survive after the fire that caused burns across 65 per cent of her body. There was also the goal to compete in an Ironman race following her recovery. Even when she was pregnant, she came up with the idea of taking part in an Ultraman event, a three-day endurance race covering more than 500km.
However, 10 months after the birth of her son Hakavai, she is not so much rethinking her philosophy as she is moderating it to fit in with her new circumstances. “I no longer have any desire to do an Ironman,” Pitt tells Stellar matter- of-factly. “Having a baby has changed me and when you become a mum you quickly realise your whole life fits in around your kids.”
Following her horrific incident while running an ultramarathon in 2011, Pitt became the poster girl for resilience, and while motherhood hasn’t dampened her ambition, it has certainly repurposed it. “I don’t want to be out running for five hours straight,” she says simply. “I know how precious life is and I’d rather be with my son.”
Yet her inner athlete still yearns for a challenge, which is exactly why
reminded of the fire that engulfed her as she ran in Western Australia’s Kimberley seven years ago, now she has little time for such reflection – but she has learnt, sometimes the hard way, of how much motherhood can take a toll.
“Before I had a baby, I had an infinite amount of energy but carrying a child and breastfeeding has been quite depleting. I really have to think about how I look after my body, try to get enough sleep and prioritise myself.”
She readily admits parenthood has impacted on her relationship with her fiancé Michael Hoskin, who has been by her side for the past nine years and vowed he would marry her if she survived her traumatic injuries. “[Parenthood] changes every day,” she says. “Some days are joyful, some are extraordinary, some you’re really irritated and really short with your partner and you’re tired. Mum is just around the corner and Michael is a really hands-on dad, but still I find it hard. Motherhood is definitely not an easy job.”
She doesn’t know exactly when she and Michael will get married (“We’re playing it by ear”), but she would like more children. “I feel like if you have one child, you’re really lucky – if you have two, you’re even luckier.”
Left with just three of her 10 fingers, Pitt sometimes struggles with opening jars and has a special device for doing up buttons. But she takes the easiest option when caring for Hakavai, avoiding clothes with press-studs and embracing the ordinary – whether it’s a visit to the post office or watching him crawl on the sand. Having plenty of friends with young babies has also eased the transition. “All my mates at home had kids around the same time, so we’ve got a ready-made mums’ club,” she laughs.
Pitt still runs School of Champions, her online mindset coaching program, and her new ebook, Good Selfie, is being published in hard copy form next year. Yet work now jostles alongside over to look after Hakavai while she and Michael set off for her hand operation. The recovery will be painful, but it’s nothing the trademark Pitt courage can’t handle. “It’s pretty cool that I can choose what surgeries I have and when I’m going to have them,” she says. “That’s really empowering for me.”