by Luke Voogt
After making Geelong’s and Richmond’s VFLW squads and completing several triathlons, Highton’s Gabby Deller is torn between the two sports.
“I love the team environment of football,” she said.
“But I love the personal challenge of trying to get through a long race involving three different sports.”
The 20-year-old admitted she was “nervous” about taking on her first IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon in Geelong this month, despite training 12 to 17 hours a week.
Deller recently completed the 65km People’s Ride in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and a half marathon, in training for the triathlon.
She also runs 40km a week in preparation for the gruelling event featuring a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run on February 23.
Running and cycling were her stronger legs where hopefully she could “pull a few people back”, she said.
A couple of years ago Deller was running cross country and playing for Geelong Falcons.
During a school trip to the BioLab in Belmont, she scored the highest of any female student in a test measuring oxygen consumption, according to Sacred Heart College.
In year 11 she took on her first competitive triathlon at Barwon Heads, swimming 400m, riding 14km and running 4km.
“It’s a bit of a jump I’ve taken from a few years ago,” she said.
She earned a spot on the Richmond VFLW team in 2018 after graduating high school.
Last year the midfielder moved back after making the Cats’ VFLW squad, but “stepped back” from the club to concentrate on triathlon and playing for Drysdale, she said.
The Hawks were “looking competitive” this year, Deller said, after playing in their grand final loss to North Geelong last year.
The part-time physical trainer and barista said she would not be “racing” in the IROMAN but ticking it off her bucket list.
Although the result could determine which sport she decides to “take to the next level”.
“If I’m just scraping across the finish line I think football will be my calling,” she laughed.
“I’d encourage girls my age to give triathlon a go. It’s a great personal challenge and you can really find your niche in the sport.”