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Burns survivor completes gruelling race

Do Not UseDo Not Use 2/05/2016
Turia Pitt: Athlete Turia Pitt needed to run through a bushfire to save herself during a race. © Getty Images Athlete Turia Pitt needed to run through a bushfire to save herself during a race.

An Australian runner who suffered life-threatening burns when she was caught in a bushfire during a race has finished a gruelling Ironman triathlon.

Turia Pitt received burns to 65% of her body and was told she would never compete again after the 2011 ultra-marathon in the Kimberley region.

But on Sunday she completed the 226km (140 mile) Ironman Australia triathlon, making headlines across the country.

Ms Pitt told the BBC she never doubted that she would cross the finish line.

"I kind of just got in my zone and didn't really think about the big picture, I just broke it down into little chunks, I just thought about getting to the next station," the 28-year-old said of the triathlon, which was held at Port Macquarie, 390km (242 miles) north of Sydney.

"I was confident I'd get to the end unless I had really bad luck, like [if] I came off my bike, but those kinds of things aren't really in my control".

Ms Pitt spent 864 days in hospital and underwent more than 100 surgeries to treat her injuries after the 2011 race.

Hong Kong-based Racing the Planet, which organised the event, had not put in place proper procedures to prevent injury in the event of a bushfire, an inquiry later found.

A total of five competitors suffered severe burns.

Ms Pitt, now an author and motivational speaker, used the race on Sunday to raise money for Interplast. The agency provides free reconstructive surgery to people in developing countries in the Asia Pacific.

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