A conversation with a complete stranger moments after she created her own piece of Ultraman Australia history meant just as much to Rachele Sanderson as the race itself.
Sanderson is the first-ever woman from the Mid North Coast to complete the race's gruelling 10-kilometre swim, 146-kilometre cycle on day one, followed by a 274-kilometre ride on day two and an 84.3-kilometre run on day three.
The event is divided into four stages over three days, and each day has a 12 hour cut-off.
While the 43-year-old was gathering her thoughts at the Noosa finish line, Sanderson looked up briefly to see a spectator who had followed her five-year progress via social media in tears.
"She came and told me how she had followed my journey the whole way on Instagram and said how I was an inspiration to her because I am also a mum who works long hours and has other commitments," Sanderson said.
"I didn't have a clue who she was, but it made my day. She was looking in my eyes and crying and I thought that was just as special as completing the race."
Rather than reflect on her own achievement, Sanderson hopes her success can continue to inspire other women to achieve their own personal goals.
"For me, it's not about being the first woman from the Mid North Coast to complete an Ultraman," she said.
"I'm proud of my achievement, but I really hope what I've done will inspire anyone - but especially women - that they don't need to go out and do an Ultraman or Ironman.
"I want to inspire them to go out, exercise and get healthy and maybe get into whatever it is that they're interested in.
"I want them to be confident that they can run five kilometres."
The mother of two has already pencilled in a second attempt at the Ultraman course in coming years.
"It's not a bucket list item for me, I'll be going back again because I don't like the idea of setting a goal, doing it once and then that's it," she said.
"I was really passionate about this because it was important for me to see how far I could push myself and I also want to inspire women to get into sport.
"I just proved to myself that I can do more and push myself further than I could ever imagine and I'm in awe and so proud of myself that I'm speechless."
No woman from the Mid North Coast has ever previously been accepted, qualified for, competed in or completed the course.
Sanderson said she couldn't have done it without the support crew of Sandy Azzopardi along with Melinda and Todd Cockshutt and husband Jim.
"They were absolutely incredible."
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