Welcome to our Female Focus pages, a series of pages and information designed to provide encouragement, inspiration and support for women to get into adventure racing and the range of off-road adventure sports it encompasses.

Whilst the popularity of adventure sports increases with fields growing around the country, female participation levels are surprisingly low – and I say ‘surprisingly low’ because we know that women are just as adventurous and just as capable as anyone else and like getting muddy as well! So these pages are designed to show you that anyone can do an adventure race!

So read on ladies for some ideas and inspiration for how you can get amongst the action (and if you have any other ideas and resources then let us know). 

 

Lorne Adventure Fest Female Role Models

 

Deanna Blegg - Winner 2007, 2008, 2010

Name: Deanna Blegg
Occupation: Mother/ Health Promotions
Where you live: Kangaroo Ground, VIC
Age: 40-45

1. What are your sporting objectives for the year?

Stay Fit and Healthy.
Race and Train and have Fun
Be Stong in Mind and Body
Compete in the ‘Worlds Toughest Mudder’ a 24 hour Tough Mudder Event. Woo Hoo.

2. Name three things that get you excited about Adventure Racing?

Adventure Racing is a sport which takes you off the beaten trail to beautiful locations around the state/country or world.
I think it is the unpredictability of course and the weather and how those two combine that leaves each part of the event an adventure despite whether you are familiar with the course or not.
The adventure racing crowd are very friendly, encouraging and fun which also makes the events fun to attend.

3. Tell me a little about your background in Adventure Sports – how did you get into it initially?

I remember seeing a flyer for the Lorne Adventure Fest in 2005. Excitedly I picked it up thinking ‘Wow that looks fantastic. I can do this. I can win this.’ At the time my daughter was 7 and my son 3. At the time I was really searching for a goal, something I could sink my teeth into. Generally I was fit, hadn’t ridden a mountain bike for over 20 years, never paddled yet was a competent swimmer and runner.
The training for the first event meant hiring a MTB, Hiring a plastic ski and turning up for the Rapid Ascent familiarisation day just under a month before the event. It was there I realised There was much training needed to be crammed into a month.

4. What are your main motivations when it comes to Adventure Sports?

Adventure and multisport racing is a passion. Having lots of different disciplines to focus on allows me never to get tired of the training. I train and race because of my love for the sport, the places it takes you and the people you meet as well as the goals that can be achieved. When my passion for the sport ceases so will I and I will move onto something else.

5. What are your particular strengths and weaknesses in Adventure Racing?

“Make your Weakness you Strength” I started the sport being a very weak paddler. I can’t yet say it is my strength; however it is certainly has improved. I think my strength is that I am a strong competitor in each of the disciplines and I am not afraid to front what challenges lay ahead.

6. How do you balance the demands of training with work, family and lifestyle?

Work, Family and training become my lifestyle. Due to the ebb and flow of life I have a very flexible view to my training. I work 2-3 days a week, do not have a coach and have never followed a training program. For me it is about finding a healthy balance of the above. It means much of what I do is set in sand, not concrete. I love rest days and I time them around the weekends with the family. On days off I train when the kids are at school. When I work in town I add training sessions before and after work whilst I am in town.

7. Any recommendations for females thinking of doing a race, in terms of training, gear and having fun?

Adventure racing is a thrilling sport and I do encourage more women to experience it. For those that are thinking about it I recommend to set some small goals first.

The Lorne Mini is a great starting place. If you feel you are not up to the whole thing put a team of friends together, or find someone you can do half and half with. Test the waters. The paddle seems to be the most confronting. There are sessions run by Peak Adventure at Sandridge SLSC which is invaluable. For $15 you get a boat, life jacket and a paddle as well as an hour group session. It is highly recommended to get a few individual sessions under your belt first so you have more 1 on 1 contact.

The MTB can also seem bit scary. Start on some bike path trails and as your fitness and experience builds up move on to the fire and single trails. There are quite a few bike shops that run social rides too. Gran Prix Bicycles in Glen Huntly have a great MTB hire service and lessons too.

8. What do you say to those women who see Adventure Racing as an intimidating sport or one that is unachievable by them?

It is amazing what women can achieve if they believe they can. It is about finding belief first. Baby steps, bit by bit. Encouragement is important and also the goal achievable.

9. Finally, if you could have dinner with any-one (living or dead) who would it be and what would you eat?

Pink
Lamb shanks

  

Peri Gray - Winner 2013

Name: Peri Gray
Occupation: Service Director at YMCA Anglesea Recreation Camp
Where you live: Jan Juc
Age: 30-35
Have you done an Adventure Race before? Yes
What, how did you go?

I’ve been racing adventures and multi-sport events for a few years and have enjoyed a range of successes and podium places in recent years. I still feel like I’m getting better and faster (which is nice).

1. What are your sporting objectives for the year?

This year I would really like to work on my strength and my technical riding to improve my race results. I need to improve my rock hopping and single track riding. I have many races pencilled in for the year and of course I hope to do well at all of these and improve on last year. I would also really love to help get more women involved the sport. I enjoy seeing people complete things they thought were never possible and I believe a lot of women think they can’t complete an adventure race, but they can.

2. Name three things that get you excited about Adventure Racing?

All the awesome people you meet along the way and the amazing places you see when you race. The training leading up to a race and the feeling you get when you the cross the finish line and all the work is done!!

3. Tell me a little about your background in Adventure Sports – how did you get into it initially?

I initially came from a triathlon background achieving many good results. I was starting to get bored of running and riding on the road. I did Anaconda Lorne in a team and realised how much fun adventure racing was. The next year I did the whole thing on my own and have not done another triathlon and have since been concentrating on adventure racing.

 

4. What are your main motivations when it comes to Adventure Sports?

My main motivations are to do well and to do a variation of races so I can see many amazing places. Adventure races are held in such beautiful environments, places you may never see unless you were racing, that’s what I love about it.

5. What are your particular strengths and weaknesses in Adventure Racing?

From a young age I have always had good endurance and I believe this would be one of my biggest strengths. I don’t excel in any leg, but my endurance gets me through. My weakness’s would be technical mountain biking, I am such a girl when it comes to this!!!

6. How do you balance the demands of training with work, family and lifestyle?

I don’t have a family of my own yet so that makes life easy!! I would love to see my mum, dad, brothers and sisters more, but they are always at my races supporting me!!! My partner is very good about it all. He puts up with the early nights, early mornings and me being tired and sore a lot of the time and also trains with me sometimes and makes me work a lot harder than I probably would if I was on my own!! My boss at work(Vicki) is fantastic and so supportive of what I do and is great about my working hours, so I am also very lucky for the job and the boss I have. Socially I will pretty much drop most social occasions to go on an adventure or to get my training session in. Some may say that is not a good thing but training and racing is what I love. I won’t be able to compete at the level I am forever so I may aswell get in as much as I can while I can. It also helps that most of friends are involved in the same stuff and are always up for a fun adventure. So training time is also very social.

7. Any recommendations for females thinking of doing a race, in terms of training, gear and having fun?

To make sure you get advice from other people who are already involved in the sport. Adventure racing training is different to any other sport. You need to ride and run lots of hills, train on different types of terrain and go out in any condition, as races will be run in any conditions!!! Don’t go out and buy all of the best gear as you don’t need it. Having the best bike doesn’t make you a better rider. Going out and riding makes you a better rider!! Borrow some gear to find out what works for you, before you spend a heap of money and ask different people their opinions. Most of all make sure you have some great people to train with and have fun. If training isn’t fun you are not going to get out of bed at 5.30am to train ?

8. What do you say to those women who see Adventure Racing as an intimidating sport or one that is unachievable by them?

Nothing is unachievable. If you think it is unachievable it will be. It’s all in the mind. It doesn’t take a lot to just complete an adventure race and this, in itself is an achievement. Don’t put any pressure on yourself for times or placing, just go out there and enjoy it. Consider it more of an adventure/journey than a race and you won’t find it intimidating. Start with something small and work your way up to something a little longer. Once you have done one race, trust me you will be addicted. Embrace the adventure and you will be inspired.

9. Finally, if you could have dinner with any-one (living or dead) who would it be and what would you eat?

I would have dinner with my mum and dad. Corny I know, but these are two of the most inspirational people I know and have made a huge impact on my life and have made me who I am today and I don’t know what I would do without them. They have given me so much support and advice along the way and I can’t thank them enough for this. I would start dinner with a nice bottle of merlot, some take away wood fire pizza and top it off with some sticky date, strawberries and ice cream (as I don’t get to eat like that very often!!!). Oh and maybe a sneaky baileys on ice as a night capper...