But now, she has opened up about how through tragedy and pain she has built a life that she loves.
Writing on her blog, Turia has shared her traumatic experience and the inspirational message that she learnt from it.
‘Before the fire, way back in 2011, I was living the life I’d always dreamed about,’ she wrote. ‘I was 24, fit, healthy and I’d landed my dream job working as a Mining Engineer for a prestigious diamond mine in Western Australia.’
It was then that she decided to enter the 100km ultra-marathon in Western Australia.
‘I was just over a quarter of the way through the race when I encountered an out of control grassfire. Trapped by the flames, I suffered burns to 65% of my body,’ she reveals. ‘My life was drastically changed.’
‘I lost seven of my fingers, spent over six months undergoing excruciating rehabilitation in hospital and doctors said I would never walk, run, or be independent again.
'The fire was a totally unpredictable event in my life. I mean, there’s no way I could have predicted what would happen to me or what my life would look like after it.’
But Turia never gave up.
‘Lying in my hospital bed, just moments after a doctor told me I’d never run again, I didn’t predict. I made a decision. I was going to do an Ironman,’ she shares.
‘The best way to predict your future is to create it.’
She has since gone on to complete not one but two Ironman competitions, raised millions of dollars for charity and written two bestselling books.
But her biggest achievement to date is by far welcoming her first child, Hakavai with her partner Michael.
‘The life I’ve created, with Michael (and now Hakavai) by my side is one that constantly blows me away.’
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This article originally appeared on New Idea.