Melissa Vandewater – Run Expert

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* Full Name:  Melissa Vandewater

* Preferred to be called:  Mel (or ‘Amazing’, I’ll answer to both)

* Preferred not to be called: late at night

* Occupation: coach, semi retired pro triathlete/now semi elite runner (still chasin the dream!)

* Qualifications:  Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy); worked in acute and community health: Orthopaedics, medical and rehabilitation, Foundations of Fitness Instruction Certified (AFN), Level 1 Athletics Australia Accredited Coach, Level 1 Run Technique (ERA), trial and error; learnt from guru coaches along the way..

* Location: Melbourne, Australia

* Greatest claim to fame: I won the Nepean triathlon (oldest tri in Aus) in 1999 and 2009! Closely followed by recent 5th and massive PB at 5000m Olympic Trials

* Greatest claim to fame outside of sporting arena: I have put my arm around David Rudisha (800m world record holder) and Matt, 360, hip hop muso/cool dude!

* What got you into running and triathlons: it was Johnny Young Talent Time School or Little Athletics-I chose wisely cos I can’t sing!(but I can dance!). Injury lead me to swim & bike for cross training. I love to race so gave tri a go, close to drowning in my first race, but finished strong.  Went pro after one year. Got pretty crook in 2010, lots of thinking time, so changed jobs to be more health promotion & returned to running -it fits with my lifestyle & coaching.

* Why have you decided to be a part of a witsup.com: I have a strong belief in women participating in sport at all levels.  It has been the most rewarding part of my life to train/race, meet great people, and now to coach.  I also believe witsup is innovative and will be a great resource for the triathlon community.

* What are your own coaching/training/racing plans for 2012: I launched “Soul Runner” early 2011 as my coaching business for runners, triathletes providing very individualised/tailored programs, one on one coaching and run technique/strength workshops.  I also work for “Running Fit” (coaching squads, camps and retail).  I personally still have aspirations to make the Australian team in World cross country but along the way I race anything from road/trail run events, an occasional tri or mountain bike in there for good measure! So I’m fairly flexible with my plans, my coach, Gregor helps map it out (yes coaches need coaches).  In times I’ve had injury/illness I learnt life has a funny way of deciding what the next step (or stride!) will be!

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