IRONMAN’S Healing Hands

Gabriel Bogatko’s relationship with food has not always been a healthy one.

The 23-year-old, from The Gap in Queensland, will be on the start line at the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast, has struggled with an eating disorder for the last seven years, spending two of those years in hospital.

After years of having her life ruled by food, triathlon has helped her channel the obsessive and negative thoughts that led to her eating disorder into a far more positive outlet. For her food is now her fuel.


"I chose the IRONMAN triathlon because I knew that in order to perform at my best without burning out or becoming injured that the correct nutrition was critical to success," she said.

"Since I started triathlon my eating disorder has taken up less space in my mind. My focus has changed from just trying to recover, to focusing on training and planning for success. In return I have seen less of a focus and anxiety regarding food and thoughts."

While Bogatko, who lives in The Gap Queensland, is excited about what the future holds, she wishes that she had found triathlon earlier, although the recent sudden loss of her father and grandmother four days apart has left her with some regrets.

"My dad will be in my thoughts and I know he will be watching over me. I think about the joy he would have experienced seeing his baby girl out of hospital and living life."

"It’s something I wish he could have seen. I wish he could have seen me in health and not struggling and breaking his heart."

For the first time in as long as she can remember Bogatko is looking forward to the future and as she looks at her life through lens of IRONMAN she loves the woman she is becoming.

"I’m excited to look back at myself and see how a weak and struggling young girl, who had lost faith in humanity, has flourished into a strong woman, who has learned that like-minded, good people will support and stand by you."

To her the finish line on Sunday means more than just a finisher’s medal and sense of achievement. It signifies a new beginning.

"This race for me isn't about what time I do, or is it just about finishing. No matter what happens I look forward to a massive turning point in my life, and to never look back."

Over 2,000 age group and 60 professional athletes will be chasing their IRONMAN 70.3 dream this weekend.

IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural and regional events across the State. The event is proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Destination.

The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, IRONMAN has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 190 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IRONKIDS®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.