Athlete Spotlight

Deb Fuller, Byron Tri Club

At times we can find ourselves watching from the sidelines and never quite get the courage to join in, but this is definitely not the case for Byron Bay resident and Tri club member, Deb Fuller.

Deb has always lived an active lifestyle and as a keen runner was drawn to the sport of Triathlon after moving to Byron in 2007. A casual walk into town that same year found her watching in awe as athletes whizzed past during the 2007 Byron Bay Tri. From that moment she knew this is what she wanted to try next.

Fast forward to 2008 and with some encouragement from Geoff Bensley – well-known local, and key organiser of the BBT – Deb entered her very first Tri at the age of 46! Deb claims she was never a keen swimmer nor a cyclist, but she could run and that’s where she was most comfortable.

Open water swimming for her was terrifying and she openly admits she started off holding the hand of one of her swim buddies, but as she says, “everyone has to start somewhere”! It took her almost 10 years to find the courage to join the local swim squad and today she actively encourages new triathletes from the Byron Tri Club to sign up.

Cycling also had a similar start for her, after borrowing a friend’s bike and having the chance to ride up and down the closed freeway she found out how much fun riding can be as she sped back and forth thinking “WOW I can cycle”. Needless to say, Deb was hooked and joined the local cycling club.

With some 40 or so Tri events under her belt, Deb has become well known up and down the Mid North Coast as a key member of the Byron Tri Club. If there is a Tri event on, Deb can be found helping to organize the 50+ strong members that form the club and still find time and energy to compete herself. Deb says “Being part of a Triathlon Club provides not only structure and access to coaches and training sessions but a sense of community and family.  Everyone cheers each other on and a win for a team member is shared as a win for the whole club”.

When asked what her most memorable event was, she proudly says “the Hervey Bay 100” – an event she had always dreamed of competing in, but as many of us experienced during the unexpected events of 2020 and 2021 any plans we may have had were thrown into chaos. Set back after set back, including a broken foot and a bout of the dreaded Covid, had Deb feeling quite underdone regarding training, but in true style she made it to the start line, and finished the event making the podium. A definite bucket list tick for her.

Deb also works hard encouraging women to try a tri and is the driving force behind the “Women’s Only” FREE program offered by the Byron Tri Club designed to introduce women to triathlons and duathlons in a safe and fun environment. “There has also been a major drive by Triathlon Australia to increase female participation in the Sport and our club has seen a significant increase in female members. There are more women participating in our training sessions and races than ever before”, Deb says.

The sport of Triathlon is demanding as well as rewarding, but with women and men like Deb encouraging new members to join and supporting those looking to excel it can only go from strength to strength.