Friday, December 17, 2010

One Step at a Time: A Story of Survival

Multi-sports help leave her worries behind

Claire Anderson is one of the many young New Zealanders who balance full-time work with a tough physical training regime.She has just completed  the Taupo Half Ironman (Saturday 11th December), and currently on her to-do list are Tauranga Half Ironman (Saturday 8th January), and a holiday in Antarctica in February.

As a teenager Claire was a talented sportswoman and student but at the age of 20 she was sexually assaulted after attending a party and her wide world narrowed to one of despair. Five years later, suffering from crippling depression, she headed to a tranquil spot with a packet of pills for the first of two suicide attempts.

It was the support of friends and family, and a timely phone call from a Lifeline counsellor saved her. Looking back Claire feels like the whole experience happened to someone else, “I was so unwell, and I’ve come so far since it really does feel like I was a different person then.” Claire has written her story and had it published in the hope that others who’re having similar feelings of hopelessness will be able to take heart from her experiences and know that they too will find a way through to being happy and healthy again.

A fair way into her recovery Claire had an employer who sponsored her to attend an Outward Bound course and she was fascinated to learn that one of her course mates had completed a full Ironman fifteen times. Claire had been looking for a big challenging goal for herself and she realised that multi-sports could be a great way to get all the physical variety and challenges she’d been craving.

The buildup to her first Ironman involved completing her first triathalon, then half-marathon, and provided all the many mental and physical tests you’d expect, as well as expanding her view of what was to be considered “normal”. She made it through and completed the Taupo course in a time of 13 hours and 46 minutes. “That Ironman journey helped me remember that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Her publisher, John McCrystal, believes that “this is the best kind of self-help book. It’s the story of a person who helped herself back from the brink, one small but rewarding step at a time.” Proceeds from the sale of the book go to a charitable trust to sponsor young students to attend Outward Bound. As Claire says, “I’m paying it forward”.

One Step at a Time by Claire Anderson is available from bookstores nationwide.
Publication details:

One Step at a Time: A Story of Survival
by Claire Anderson,
Kukupa Press,
RRP NZ$30.99, ISBN 978 0 473 17530 6

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