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Meet the ‘toughest gal’ in town

Debbie Donald takes on the tough gal course. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Featherston’s Debbie Donald is the ‘toughest gal’ in the country after winning the women’s open women’s class at the national Tough Guy and Gal Challenge held at Rotorua on Saturday.

Donald led from start to finish as she completed the 12km course in one hour, 12 minutes, and 10 seconds – more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Melanie Stowell, of Plimmerton. The time put her 12th overall.

Donald, 32, qualified for the national championship after winning the Palmerston North event on August 3.

Her first experience of the gruelling obstacle event was as part of the Facing Giants Crossfit team from Martinborough who won the 2018 teams event in Palmerston North.

She decided to compete as an individual this year with the aim of finishing in the top three, and qualifying for the nationals in Rotorua.

The course in Rotorua was incredibly tough and very hilly, she said, which made for some difficulties during the race.

“There were mud trenches, lots of hills, a ‘back scratcher’ where you had to crawl under barbed wire downhill, and I got caught up in it on the second lap.

“There were also electric wires dangling down that you had to crawl underneath. Every few hundred metres there were obstacles like six-foot walls you had to climb over,” she said.

It was a great feeling to look around near the end and see she had such a big lead.

“It was amazing that I could do it in front of my hubby [Hayden] and my three boys Maru, Quentin, and Benjamin, who were supporting me about halfway through the course.”

Having won this year, she intended to defend her title in 2020.

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