Turia Pitt: Most of Her Body Burned as She Ran, But She Didn’t Let That Stop Her

“I heard a noise, so I took off my headphones and raised my head.

Then, I saw the fire.

The huge wall of fire that was quickly advancing towards me.

When the fire got to me, I remember looking down at my hands and seeing them on fire, I screamed in horror and thought: That’s it, it’s over.”

That’s how what Turia Pitt says about the moment she realized that she’s on fire.

She was participating in an ultra-marathon (100 km) in the Australian outback, on a track that was completely in nature, when a grass fire invaded the path.

She laid in the field for four hours, waiting for rescue, as her skin also burned from the scorching sun.

No one expected her to survive – she was pronounced dead 3 times, and was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month.

She suffered burns on 65% of her body, remained with only 3 fingers, and underwent over 200 operations and skin implants.  

She had to re-learn how to walk, how to talk, and how to do other simple tasks like bend her elbow. 

But she didn’t let that stop her.

Turia Pitt Before and After the Fire
Turia Pitt Before and After the Fire

“All of the sudden, in the hospital, everyone’s expectations of me changed,” she said. “At first, the staff told me happily: Don’t worry, you can still get married and have children. And I thought to myself, but hey, that’s what everyone does- and I’m not everyone.”

Pitt really isn’t like everyone. Not only did she return to normal functioning, she went back to running – and nothing can stop her since.

In 2016, she competed in the Australian Ironman competition, and competed in the world championships a few months later in Hawaii. 

Since then, she’s led climbing expeditions  to various places in the world like the Great Wall of China, sailed around the world, raised millions to donate to fire victims (including those who lost everything in the Australian bush fires in 2020), became a mentor, a speaker, an author, and a famous consultant – and also gave birth to two children. 

But hey, it’s best you hear her story from her. The first video is of a Tedx Talk she gave in 2014, and the second is a story about her participation in Iron Man.

Turia Pitt at Ted-x in 2014

A story about Pitt’s participation in the Iron Man world championships in Hawaii in 2016

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