The Olympic Connection and Fitish Woman

The Olympic Connection and Fitish Woman



A beautiful sunny Saturday…tick. Our goal? To walk from Manly to Cleveland as practise for the 24 kilometre One Day To Conquer Cancer Walk…tick.

But first, coffee.

We met up at Dramanti Coffee Roasters in Wynnum where there’s a portrait of Sasa Sestic, AKA The Coffee Man hanging on the wall. Sasa won the Australian Barista Championship and stars in the documentary, The Coffee Man.

The Coffee Man explores the extraordinary world of specialty coffee and the lengths one man will go to for coffee nirvana. The journey takes the viewer from the farm to cup, to the intensity of international competition, where Sasa will win at any cost, even if that requires smuggling Australian milk through US customs to attain the perfect flavour.

 Sasa, an immigrant from war-torn Bosnia found international acclaim of a different kind when he first moved to Australia in 1996, by representing his new country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Meeting heroes such as Cathy Freeman gave Sasa a taste of victory that would live with him until 15 years later, when he outclassed competitors from 52 countries to win 2015 World Barista Championship (WBC) title in Seattle – the Olympics of coffee.

Fitish Woman walking the talk with Julie McDonald, OAM, and Angela Maoudis, Delphi Bank.

Speaking of Olympics, it was quite befitting that we had Julie McDonald join us for a coffee and a part of the walk from Manly to Cleveland. Julie is an Australian former long-distance freestyle swimmer of the 1980s and 1990s, who won a Bronze medal in the 800-metre freestyle, swimming at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

And then there’s Fitish Woman, with no dreams to compete in any Olympics but having overcome a phobia of exercise, keen to take on the challenge of walking a distance of 18 kilometres from Manly to Cleveland. They told me there’d be coffee!

I wasn’t sure if I’d go the distance due to some niggling back pain but Julie came to the rescue with a tube of Revitalising Redox Gel which she advised to rub into the painful area three times in five minutes. Admittedly, I was a little sceptical about how much pain relief the gel would provide but to my amazement, it took the sharp edge off the pain and I felt I could walk it out.

We set off at a steady pace maintaining conversation along the way. We followed the Esplanade a short distance, along a path which went through mangroves and then the GPS steered us through a lot of suburbia which was not the most inspiring of places to walk and meant we did not encounter another cafe until we made it to our final destination at Raby Bay, Cleveland. 

Along the way, we only had one stop to visit the bathroom and buy a bottle of water from a service station and the attendant told us we were mad doing the walk!

The last hour of the walk was the toughest to endure as a few aches and pains made themselves known but we kept ourselves motivated by thinking of the lunch which would follow and the fact that it was too far to turn around and walk back to the parked car having walked so far by then. A goal set is a goal to be achieved and we felt determined not to quit. Once we finished the walk we felt accomplished although tired and in need of an Epsom Salt bath, and pray we’ll be ready to wake up early and complete a 5 kilometre walk in the City to South on Sunday.

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