In the Spotlight: Janelle Hooper

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How did you hear about RAV?

I stumbled across Kirrily [RAV’s founder, Kirrily Dear] online when she was doing her first big run to raise awareness of domestic violence, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that is an awesome idea!’ I’m always looking for ways to contribute to the community, especially to help people who, like me, have been affected by domestic violence.

 

Have you always loved running?

I didn’t do much running until 2011. That’s when I had a bit of a health scare and thought I was going to die. Luckily all the tests came back clear but I realised there were all these things I hadn’t done. I thought, ‘That’s it, I have to make changes.’ I suffered from depression, so I decided to go for little runs to lift my mood, but I’d end up going over and over all the bad stuff in my head and I was coming back more stressed. Then I started reading a book by Eckhart Tolle called The Power of Now. One of the things it suggests is to block out your thoughts by listening to the trees and birds and everything around you. So that’s what I did. I even stopped listening to music when I ran. That helped a lot.

 

What’s your passion?

My friend, Michele, told me about an off-road triathlon, run by a company called In 2 Adventure. Even though I’d never done one before, I registered for it. I absolutely loved it! In fact, I’ve done so many triathlons with them now, the organisers have asked me to be an ambassador for them.

I’ve won a few triathlons here and there, and even represented Australia in 2016 for cross-triathlon. I’ve also done the Big Red Run, a 250-kilometre, six-day run across The Simpson Desert. It’s been amazing.

 

How has the work of RAV helped you?

I never used to talk about my experience with domestic violence. In fact, it was only after I started following Kirrily that I started to talk about it. Before, I really struggled but once I opened up, things got a lot easier.

 

Got any plans for the future?

I’m getting my Cert IV in Outdoor Recreation because I want to open a domestic-violence retreat in Queensland. We don’t have one here, so I’ve decided to do something about it. It will be a place for kids and women and men affected by domestic and family violence to enjoy mountain biking, hiking, bush-walking, kayaking, and just being outside in the fresh air!

 
Cheryl Fitzell