Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Julia Galvin heads for OZ

(photo; Don McMonagle)

For Immediate Release.
Mar 19th 2008

Champion BOG SNORKELLER and darling of the broadcast and print media in a dozen European countries, Julia Galvin (37) is about to tackle Australia. Weighing in at a 'dainty' 120kg, Julia braves the 22 hour flight from her native Ireland to pit her stamina against Australia's finest practitioners of novelty sports, including Bog Snorkellers (with and without a lead bicycle) Wife Carriers and Stone Throwers. First stop in her itinerary is the coincidentally named JULIA CREEK in Queensland at the DIRT 'n DUST FESTIVAL.

Bog Snorkelling is a sporting event that consists of competitors completing two consecutive lengths of a 60 yard filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible. Competitors must wear snorkels and flippers, and complete the course without using conventional swimming on flipper power alone. Wet suits are not compulsory, but are usually worn.

How did Julia, a biology teacher, find herself competing on an international level in this bizarre sport?
“I was banged up in hospital following a serious accident, suffering from relentless chronic pain,” she says “To distract myself I delved into the Guinness Book of Records. An entry in the book fascinated me; a photo of a guy bog-snorkeling. I vowed if I ever walked again I was going to be a bog snorkeller. Of course, I was on 16 pain killers a day when I decided that..”

But Julia did learn to walk again. And she learned to swim. And eventually learned to snorkel. And within a year she had weaned herself off medication and was representing Ireland at the world bog snorkelling championships in Wales, “coming second to a burly life guard” and has spent the last number of years inspiring others while accumulating silverware.

However Australia is a unique challenge in itself for Julia. “I'm afraid of spiders,” she admits “and I don't care for the sun. Ireland is a country where 26 degrees centigrade represents a heat wave”
But she is hugely looking forward to what the Irish like to call 'the crack'