Episode 18 - The Rise of the Female Triathlete with Stef Hanson

The Rise of the Female Triathlete with Stef Hanson

If you look back 10-20 years, the landscape for women in triathlon looked very different. But thanks to the tireless work of Stef Hanson, the former chief of WITSUP  (Women in Triathlon...Sup?!) females are now on the map.

Listen in as she gives hilarious insight into the media world of triathlon and her passion as an advocate for women in the sport. There is still a lot of work to be done in this space for sure but she’s blown up the industry and given females a voice in what was previously a heavily male-dominated sport.

The sport of triathlon is so grateful to you and your work Stef! Here’s to the next chapter.

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Episode Transcription

Episode 18 - The Rise of the Female Triathlete with Stef Hanson


Taryn Richardson  00:00
This episode is brought to you by You CAN Trust A Skinny Chef. Learn to cook delicious food in the comfort of your own home with qualified chef Bretty. To cook along, head to www.youcantrustaskinnychef.com.

Taryn Richardson  00:15
Today's episode is with total legend and one of my favourite humans, Stef Hanson. Stef is the founder of WITSUP, which, if you haven't heard of it yet stands for ‘Women In Triathlon, Sup?’. She is a triathlete herself, although she doesn't get to do too much these days. And through her journey with WITSUP, she's a self-taught photographer, videographer and Podcast Producer. She's basically built this whole media empire with her role at WITSUP, and she's created this beautiful community to really highlight women in endurance sport. She lives in Melbourne with their partner Bretty, her daughter Frankie and their dog Henry, although I've been trying to get her to move to sunny Brisbane for a long time now. So I'm really excited for you listen to our conversation today.

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, the show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian, and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy to digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  01:45
Alright, welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy legend!

Stef Hanson  01:48
Legend, don't know about that... I'll take it, but I'm not sure I agree with you.

Taryn Richardson  01:53
Total legend! I'm so pumped to have you on because I selfishly wanted a reason to be able to chat with you. But most importantly, I want my listeners to hear from the chief of WITSUP and hear about all the awesome things you've achieved for women in sport and that doesn't get lost in the ether of the internet.

Stef Hanson  02:09
Well, thank you.

Taryn Richardson  02:10
Let's set the scene. Can you tell me why you started WITSUP in the first place?

Stef Hanson  02:15
So WITSUP started because I was writing at one of the triathlete magazines here in Australia and I'd actually just done an interview with Caroline Xena Steffen. It's weird because I'm now actually really good mates with her but back then I was a massive fangirl. Now I just think she's a dick. I'm just joking. She's an awesome person on and off the racecourse. But I'd just done this interview with her and figured it would be the feature of the article, the main feature. The magazine went out and she wasn't on the cover.

Stef Hanson  02:49
I was like, I don't get it. Like it was definitely the main feature of this particular magazine. And so I just innocently asked, why don't we, you know, I've noticed that we don't have many women on the cover of the magazine, why didn't we have her on this particular cover? And the response I got was women don't sell magazines. And it kind of shook me because I just didn't know what to expect. But I certainly didn't expect that as the answer. It wasn't a loaded question. It was a very innocent curious question and the answer I got just built up this burning desire to change that because I just thought was the most ridiculous answer I'd ever heard.

Taryn Richardson  03:47
Was it the answer from a male?

Stef Hanson  03:49
Of course, it was. For quite a few years, I've been floating around doing quite a few different things. I was a personal trainer at the time, I was heavily involved as an age group triathlete in the sport, you know, wanting to go far. I was commentating at local triathlon events and writing for the magazine. So I was doing a lot, I was really involved and not really knowing where all these bits and pieces were going, just really enjoying what I was up to. And it was that moment that it was, it was that 'aha moment', that lightbulb moment where I knew why I was doing all these things that I've been doing and what I had to do with it. And I vividly remember sitting at my mate's house having a barbecue. And I just said, What do you think about this idea? Explained the story. And it was it was almost like everyone stood up and gave a slow clap because everyone realised this is exactly what I had to do. And I actually I feel pretty lucky or fortunate that I did have that moment because I don't think many people have that opportunity or allow themselves to be open to those kinds of opportunities and ideas and follow those ideas through. And so yeah, WITSUP was born.

Taryn Richardson  05:08

So it's like that pivotal moment that was like a snap like this is what I'm here for. This is my purpose.

Stef Hanson  05:14
Totally. Yeah, without a doubt, like I had zero doubt.

Taryn Richardson  05:18
All of these things were culminating in that. Amazing.

Stef Hanson  05:22
I've just I think I've just; I don't think I know; I've always been a person who I'll take a leap, I will do things knowing that it's leading somewhere and being okay with it not actually having an idea of what the outcome is going to be or like, I've always done that. I moved from Tassie to Melbourne, with $500 in the bank account, no idea what I wanted to do, other than I wanted to eventually play softball for Australia, but that's a whole other story. But I was just like, fuck it, I'm going, and I'll figure it out. Because I just I need to, I just need to do this. So yeah, I've always just made those kinds of decisions and done those kinds of things being okay with not knowing the outcome, because I feel like that's always just sort of, could squash, the opportunities.

Taryn Richardson  06:10
That's kind of your personality, though, you're really passionate about something. And it doesn't matter if it's, you know, going to get you from A to B, or it's a certain financial reward or any of that sort of stuff. You're just led by passion, which is so amazing.

Stef Hanson  06:23
Thank you. I am very much driven by passion. You’re right - nailed it. You've just summed me up in a short sentence. I like it.

Taryn Richardson  06:36
So I want to ask you, because WITSUP, you made the tough decision to I don't know, what's the right word close or fold or stop WITSUP this year? And is there anything that you wish you had of known back then when you started that you do know now?

Stef Hanson  06:52
Oh, that's a good question. So first of all, I don't, I still don't know what the word is to saying stopping WITSUP or because I don't know, it feels like it all just has these negative connotations to it. And I don't want it to be a negative thing. I want it to be, you know, it was time, it was time to move on. There are other things out there for me, which I'm in that I mean, that similar kind of space of I'm doing bits and pieces and using my skills and things that just things are happening, and I'm trusting that right now. So that's a really positive thing. But as far as closing, I guess, closing that chapter, gosh, how many wanky sayings can I come up with. Closing a chapter, shutting a door...

Taryn Richardson  06:59
Reached its expiry date?

Stef Hanson  07:41
Oh, I don't mind that one.

Taryn Richardson
It's a food-related one.

Stef Hanson
Write that one down as well. Put on a t-shirt. I think, and I'm not blaming the pandemic on the decision, but it's certainly played a major role. I think because a lot of what I, a lot of the work that I did, and a lot of things that I enjoyed were going to races, travelling the world. Just, I've always just been an all-in kind of person. So I couldn't do that anymore. I couldn't be that all in person that I enjoy, so I couldn't reap those benefits and then sitting, sitting in a room trying to do what I did, it just didn't work for me. So the pandemic definitely played a role. But again, like we said, I felt like it had kind of come to an expiry date. And I want to seek other challenges and what they are, I'm still trying to figure out, but I will.

Stef Hanson  08:48
Yeah, so that's short, I'm still unpacking it to be completely honest with you. I feel sad about it some days, because it was some really insanely good memories, some of the shit that I used to do with like, it was just unreal. But as far as learning something that I wish I knew at the start, I often like I often say to myself, I wish I'd been better at turning it into a viable business from a money point of view. But in saying that, back when I started, I'm just not driven by money. I'm just not. I never will be but I'm learning that I need to make it a priority. And that's what I'm doing sort of moving forward especially with a kid because it's not just me, I can't just travel the globe and say I don't give a fuck.

Stef Hanson  09:45
But I'm also okay with that, like I want to that excites me being able to provide for her. It's just trying to figure out how to do it. But back when I started and over the course of the 10 years, I saw people try to come into that space and occupy that space and, you know, earn money in that space, and buy space I mean, women in triathlon from, you know, I had people reach out to me wanting to buy into WITSUP and do this and do that. But their goal was because they saw an opportunity to market to women and sell to women. And I just, it just gave me the ick, I just didn't. Oh god I've been watching too much Bachelor and Love Island, they say that all the time stuff like gives me the ick, that's terrible.

Taryn Richardson  10:34
Too much spare time Stef.

Stef Hanson  10:37
But I never watch it, just watching it. It's always in the background while I'm doing other things.

Taryn Richardson  10:42
Sure, sure.

Stef Hanson  10:45
Yeah, I just I think, if I had have made money, my driving factor, it would never have worked, because I saw people try to do it. And it just wasn't a space that that could be the number one, you know, driving force for what they wanted to do. I saw people try and they failed. And I saw people try to come in and join forces with me. And it didn't sit well with me. So I would say no. Really not answering your question. You know, I've learned a lot. But I guess I also would say I wouldn't do much differently. Because I think we were really successful. I think we change the game. And now I just feel like we've changed the game, now everyone else take that and run with it. That's how I kind of feel. Yeah, I could make I could have made maybe better decisions, or not better, different decisions. Towards the end, I definitely could have made better decisions and different decisions, for sure. But then again, the road takes you where it takes you, right. 

Taryn Richardson  11:57
WITSUP would have been different if you had been motivated differently, though, like you were driven purely by passion and promoting women in triathlon. And so that is what you created, you created this amazing community and you leveraged women up in a sport where we're being knocked down. And it just wouldn't have been like that if you were driven purely by financial or marketing to women in this marketplace. So what you created is a figment of that passion, not because you created it for any other reason.

Stef Hanson  12:27
Thank you. I mean, I'm certainly also not one of these people who sits down and maps things out.

Taryn Richardson 
Not a planner

Stef Hanson 
Nah, not so much. I mean, I'm getting better and there are certain things that I'm really trying. But I'm also very much get an idea run with it. I'm very much creative if you want to put me in a box or what have you. But I didn't sit down and write a business plan, put it that way. But if you asked me like, What was some of my key objectives or whatever wanky Marketing Management words you want to use, from the very beginning, I always said, I want to be the person, when I say I mean Stef Hanson and WITSUP, I want to be a go-to that people trust. And it's not about jumping on a bandwagon, it's not about getting advertising dollars and just selling the shit out of stuff, that just didn't sit well with me.

Stef Hanson  13:18
I actually remember, this is a very long time ago, and we were taking some advertising on and it came to my attention that now I have to be really careful what I say here, but someone had just started advertising on the website. We hadn't got money from them yet. And that's because I'm also useless at invoicing and chasing people for money. Another thing I'm working on. And it came to my attention that this company did not fit with my values and WITSUP values and quite a few people drew my attention to this company. And my gut straightaway said I'm hearing too many stories, I want out. I just because I do not want to be associated in any way shape or form with a company that doesn't align with my values.

Stef Hanson  14:18
And I reached out to the company, and we shut it down really quickly. They were pretty angry at me. But it was just something again my gut was saying Nope. If this many people have reached out and said they're really good as well because they understood what my values were. And yeah, were a bit concerned that we had aligned with them and so I did more research and there were going to be lawyers involved like it just it got a bit scary. But at least I managed to shut it down. And it was 100% the right decision and those kinds of things popped up all the time like we had quite a few people reach out to advertise and join with us and I was just like no, I just won't. Yeah. You know what I'm saying?

Taryn Richardson  15:11
Yeah, it's one of your key learnings, I think. Don't work with people that don't have the same values as you.

Stef Hanson  15:15
Yeah. And it's pretty simple. Triathlon's a small space, women in triathlon is an even smaller space. And when you're trying to, you know, scratch together $1, I can also see how easy it is to take dollars to, you know, to put food on the table, but that was just from day one. It just isn't what I've ever been about. So yeah.

Taryn Richardson  15:44
Let's shift gears a little. Let's talk about how things have changed for women in the sport, thanks to you.

Stef Hanson  15:53
I'll also say thanks to us, there was quite a few people behind, you know, towards the end that they there was a few people actually over the lifecycle of WITSUP, people came and went, and there was a team behind it. Yes, it was very much me from the beginning doing everything. But then as time moved on, we sort of built a team.

Taryn Richardson  16:16
How many did you have in your team at its peak?

Stef Hanson  16:19
It's kind of hard to say because we'd have, you know, maybe the core team probably at its peak got to maybe about five or six, and this is all volunteer work. We would find different ways to compensate for their time, you know, so I'd work on different ways that we could, you know, pay them back for their time, but these are people who are passionate about the vision and about the message that we're putting out there. But yeah, so five or six, and then we had contributors on top of that as well. So people sending in articles or what have you. What was your initial question? What's changed? I'm not used to being on this side. I'm struggling not to ask you questions. Okay, we'll get there. All right.

Taryn Richardson  17:08
So think about what it was like for women in a triathlon before you started compared to what it is now. People have no idea. Unless you're in it, people have no idea what's evolved over the years.

Stef Hanson  17:20
I will answer but I also want to flip back over to you. When did you notice WITSUP and what was it that made you go yeah, this is something that we do need, and this will make a difference or is making a difference?

Taryn Richardson  17:35
I first came across WITSUP when I was working with Triathlon Australia. I think I first met you when you came to a camp in Canberra at the AIS and you were doing some interviews or recording or photos for the girls that were there. Charlotte McShane, Ash Gentle…

Stef Hanson 
Yep. Nat Van Coevorden

Taryn Richardson 
Yes, we were doing carb camp, and you came to dinner, and you were like, Hey, I'm Stef. I'm like, I know who you are. And you're like, what? You know who I am? And like, Yeah, WITSUP! And you're like, wow, respect like I remember that like it was yesterday. But it would have been around that time. And I think that was 2015. Maybe? When did WITSUP start? What year did you start?

Stef Hanson  18:18
I keep saying it was a decade ago. So it was around yeah, 2011 because we kind of did a soft launch before we really, because we launched a couple of days after Ironman Melbourne. But prior to that, I'd organised a celebrity women's triathlon here locally, because I was just all about, well, let's get it out there. And that's, this is kind of before influencers were, you know, real influences on social media. And, you know, I just, if you need people to pitch your product, you get a celebrity. So I got, you know, I coached four different local celebrities like radio personalities and TV personalities and so forth. Coached them up for their first ever triathlon and we got sponsors involved, we gave them bikes and wetsuits and all the things.

Taryn Richardson  19:08
You're a really good connector. That's one of your mad skills. Connecting all of these people and things together.

Stef Hanson  19:14
I love doing it. I hate the word networker.

Taryn Richardson 

Stef Hanson 
That's a much better word because networker is again, such a wanky yeah. Thank you, it's not that I take pride in that, I just flat out enjoy doing it. I just find I like talking to people, you know, and I just feel like, I don't know, like you hear different stories and if there's a way of connecting people because you know, that's going to be a good mashup, then I take joy in that. It's yeah, it's good. That's what I love about storytelling. It's why I like doing podcasts and everything because you can just really get into the nitty-gritty and find out more about people as opposed to, you know, short form Q and A's or interviews at the finishing line of a race which don't get me wrong, they're great and everything But this is where it's at this is where you really find out about people is the, the long form chats.

Taryn Richardson  20:06
It's in the comfort of your own home too like I'm sitting hiding in my cupboard, you're at your place in Melbourne, it just connects people all over the world. So that was when I first met you and I was aware of WITSUP before then. And, you know, women in triathlon at that point wasn't horrendous. But you'd done a lot of work in the years before that. So what was it like back in 2011, when you started for women in the sport?

Stef Hanson  20:30
So back before we actually launched, I've got a good mate of mine, Kendall, who has worked in the corporate world in the past, but her kind of role and I don't know the correct terms, but she would go into companies, and basically get out from the employees what they liked or disliked about the company, where it could improve and then she would take that to the bosses, and they'd work together on formulating a bit of a plan. But if you go up to someone and ask them what's wrong with this? It just doesn't always necessarily come out. So she would find ways and use techniques and tools to be able to get that information out of people. So I asked her to host essentially a focus group before we launched WITSUP because I didn't want it just to be about what I wanted to do.

Stef Hanson  21:15
I had to learn a little bit more about what other women out there thought about triathlon. People who were involved in the sport, what they thought about it. People who weren't involved in the sport, and what they thought about it, what their, what their barriers could be to getting into the sport, because for me personally, I never sensed a barrier for me. But that's because I grew up with two brothers. I worked in a pub, like I never felt any different, but I wanted people to feel comfortable like I did. And I recognise that triathlon has a certain amount of barriers, but I wasn't fully across all of them, because I hadn't sensed them myself.

Stef Hanson  21:54
So in this focus group, we did some really interesting exercises, and the overwhelming result that we got from them. So one of the ones was we had to draw a picture of what triathlon represented. And this is a group of about maybe a dozen women. Some triathletes, some were just runners, some weren't even sporty or enjoyed exercise at all. And people would draw, one person drew a picture. And it was of this triathlete, swimming cap, goggles standing on the beach but looked really stern, really muscly and it was at sunrise. So you know, they drew the sun as well. I've still got this picture, too. And then we had to explain what it all meant.

Stef Hanson  22:46
And she just sort of said, and it was a friend of mine. And she basically said, Well, it's for quite masculine women and I don't, that's possibly not the right word and I apologise if that is offensive to anyone. But I'm just sort of talking about how this went about. I guess by masculine I mean, strong muscly, fit, stern, like really focused and driven. Yeah. And being awake at stupid o'clock in the morning, you know? And yeah, and I was like, oh, that's, that's interesting. Because not all triathletes are like that. Sure. Yep. But she knew me, she knew me as the you know, idiot that would get up at 4:30am in the morning and go to training for five hours, who was very focused, driven, who as you know, strong, fit all these kinds of things. So to her, triathlon was unattainable. It wasn't, it was never going to be a thing for her because she saw me, but I was the idiot who's doing the iron distance, sort of stuff, forgetting that triathlon at it's very, you know, very core is just swim, bike, run. And it can be 200 metres swim, it could be 100 metres swim, it could be whatever. It doesn't have to be this ridiculous thing.

Stef Hanson  24:20
For me, that was just a bit of a light bulb that's the message that a lot of people outside of triathlon get. Is that it is this crazy insane, you've got to be super fit, super strong, super muscly. You know, go to bed at seven o'clock at night, get up at four o'clock in the morning type of thing. And I was like, oh shit, this is what we're doing wrong. So that's, again, sorry, I love a tangent. I love a chat. But it was, that's when I realised that we needed to work on getting more women involved in the sport because again, I wanted people to feel like I did, which was just this. I just had such a passion for this sport I love trying to improve. I loved the puzzle that is triathlon. I mean, not many people will fully solve because there's always tweaks you know.

Stef Hanson  25:17
Anyway, back to that. That's why we did the celebrity race because I wanted to take four women who had never done any of this kind of thing before, highlight it, and get it out on, you know, general media publications to sort of showcase that anyone can do a triathlon and they had an absolute ball.

Taryn Richardson  25:39
So really lowering that barrier to entry for them.

Stef Hanson  25:41
Yeah, yeah. And just and I was heavily involved with it in terms of the coaching and don't get me wrong like it wasn't a full-on coaching thing, but again, that's okay. Because you don't need to be. You don't need to have a coach to get into triathlon, you just need to kind of know some basics and someone to sort of you know, answer all those questions. You probably got more questions about what you should be wearing as opposed to what cadence you should be riding at you know, like, they're the kind of barriers. So many people don't want to wear, bathers you know, in public I don't want to run in bathers do I put shorts on? Like it's all those kinds of things that when you're so heavily involved in triathlon, you forget about.

Stef Hanson  25:42
I remember one person asked me how to teach them to ride a bike. And I was like, Yeah, okay, cool. Let's go. And they're like, no, no, no, I actually don't know how to ride a bike. And I was like I don't know what cues to give you to ride a bike, because I just didn't know how to sit on a bike and pedal and push the bike forward. Like, the more you get involved in triathlon, the more you forget those basics. And I feel like that is a real barrier. I mean, there's plenty of barriers. But to me, that was something that we needed to change.

Taryn Richardson  26:56
And now there's loads of things around to help lower that barrier to entry. Like there's beginner female focused triathlon squads with no males. There are things like the Triathlon Pink that are really short distances, you can go on whatever the hell bike you want. You don't need cleats, you don't need riding shoes, you could just go in clothes like you swim in a pool. It's not open water. There are so many things that exist now to help lower that barrier to entry. Because people like you started that process for women in the sport.

Stef Hanson  27:24
Yeah, you're 100%, right. So when triathlon pink sort of came out, initially, and this is the crazy iron-distance triathlete brain was like, that doesn't count, it's in a pool. And I'm like, no, no, no, no. What an idiot. I mean, no, I didn't say that out loud. But that like that was the purist in me going, oh pool doesn't count. But yes, it does. Swim, bike run, taking away open water swimming which is very scary for people who have never done an open water swim before. And so I think it's brilliant to do things like that.

Stef Hanson  28:03
And, you know, and then on top of that, how else is it changed, going back to your original question. I think our biggest game-changer is that we held others accountable. So it wasn't just us actually doing the things, you know, reporting on races, doing interviews with professional athletes, giving them a platform. It was making other media outlets, organisations accountable for their actions as well. So, which is really hard to nail exactly what that looks like, because you just sort of start to see it over time. You can't, it's not tangible like it's really hard.

Stef Hanson  28:46
So, another example is, I think it was maybe the second year of Ironman Melbourne, I think. And the Ironman Oceania team had basically said, because it was a live feed, said to the camera team who were outsourced, you know, so they'd bring in a camera team to do this Facebook Live or what have you. You know, keep filming for nine hours from the gun. So most of the men, pro men have finished. Anyone who knows anything about Iron distance racing, knows that a sub-nine-hour performance, and obviously everyone's getting faster, but a sub-nine-hour performance is a phenomenal performance for a professional woman. So, to be told to cut the camera feed at nine hours. You're risking not getting that whole podium.

Stef Hanson  29:45
But no one was in that room to say that. The camera crew were just be doing what they're told. But who was the person in the room going ‘Hang on? I know a little bit about women's racing. Maybe that's not a good idea. You might want to bump that out a little bit. And my Twitter blew up. Because the feed stopped after Caroline Steffen had won. And no one knew who had come second or third because they just did their job, shut it down. Everyone always follows us on Twitter when we're covering races or when we were covering races. And I was like, we've got to do something about this.

Stef Hanson  30:25
So I called Ironman out, I wasn't a dick about it. I actually called them and said, what are you going to do? Because this isn't good enough. And it's not because there were people in the room going, we don't give a shit about the women. It's not that. It's not having someone in the room, thinking ahead about the women. So they're just always an afterthought.

Taryn Richardson 
No advocate for the women

Stef Hanson 
Exactly! So anyway, we called them out, they pulled together footage of the women and allowed us to publish it the next day. As a sorry, and we do respect women, we apologise. I think they handled it really well, in that they recognised their blunder and did something about it.

Stef Hanson  31:09
So that's what I mean by holding others accountable. And I just don't think bitching about things on social media is the way to do it. I went in and spoke to them and said, this isn't good enough. What are you going to do? And if you don't do anything, I will then go to town with you tomorrow. But they did. And so we as a society across all sports, just need to start thinking more about women. Who is our advocate in that room for the women? We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to that.

Taryn Richardson  31:45
Absolutely. In every sport, like women have less prize money, they have less sponsorship before you turned up, there was no coverage for the women's races. It's just mind-boggling. But there's a massive explosion of female athlete nutrition and promotion at the moment. So we're just kind of let's just blow it up.

Stef Hanson  32:04
The sponsorships, a whole other story. Sponsorships kind of like that, well, you would know this listening to our mate Mel Browne on finance, that it's important to talk about you know, your wage with your fellow employee. So that you, you do know that you're on the same wicket or, you know, we can help with that gender pay gap and reducing that and when I say reducing it, just getting it fucking equal pay. But I feel like sponsorships a very similar thing. People don't talk about sponsorship very much especially in a public realm. I'm sure that there's discussions behind the scenes but still to a point a lot of that is held close to people's chest.

Stef Hanson  32:54
I can guarantee, not just guarantee, I know that I particularly like when it comes to say bikes. Men get paid more in sponsorship dollars than women. It you know, it's because, you know, it's the whole bike porn type of thing for the men. It's, you know, it's cool, it's fast and everything and I'm like fuck, women are fast, women are cool. I want to look at what the women are riding. You know. I haven't even talked about this kind of stuff for a while. You're getting me all riled up.

Taryn Richardson  33:28
Sorry, mate, I can see your face getting flushed, you might need to take your jumper off. Take your beanie off.

Stef Hanson  33:36
I do apologise to the listeners. I tend to go off on tangents and I hope this is still interesting for everyone.

Taryn Richardson  33:42
That's the best part about you though Stef. You have so many crazy stories, is there anything that we could talk about on the podcast like one of your craziest stories ever from the road that is maybe PC enough to talk about on the podcast without too many swear words?

Stef Hanson  33:56
Man, I've had some blowups with people at finishing lines. Here's one for like, Yeah, I'm going to call it pretty sexist at a finishing line. Generally speaking I’m the only woman at a finishing line taking photos, generally speaking. So when it comes to coverage as well, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Let's say that, you know, there's 10 media outlets out in the course covering a race. Generally, they're all following the men and then the women get left behind. And don't get me wrong. Following a race is fucking hard work. It is a very long day out there.

Stef Hanson  34:31
There's a lot of backwards and forwards. For me personally, I used to do photography, videography, and then I'd also do tracking. So that means I would feed information back to the event organiser and let them know what's happening in the women's race. And then I'd also do our own social media updates as well.

Taryn Richardson 

Stef Hanson 
Yeah, it was mental, I loved it. Don't get me wrong. but it is fucking hard work. And people do not understand how much is actually involved. Most people are following the men's race. And it's really hard to follow the men's and the women's race with one person, very hard job. So I appreciate that. But again, the fallback is follow the men's race.

Stef Hanson  35:17
Then the men finishing at eight hours, roughly. Everyone goes to the finishing line, you know, 10 minutes before the first male crosses the line. For the next hour, no one has any idea what's happening in the women's race. And how many races do we see where the last hour is pivotal? It's the most important part of the race. It's where everything happens, the blow-ups, the passes, the passing outs, all the things. So typically speaking, I was the only one out there who had any idea what was happening in the women's race, because everyone else was at the finishing line. And you can't go to the finishing line, do the men's bit, come back out to the women, there's just not enough time. And so I would, I'd be following the women's race still doing my thing. And then of course, everyone's already at the men's what race, sorry, at the finishing line, waiting now for the women to come in. So then I would essentially come in late, because I'm still following all the women and couldn't get a spot because everyone's just been hanging out.

Stef Hanson  36:06
So I would have quite a few arguments with people asking whether they would let me come in. And quite often, more often than not, it was men saying no. I had a big blow-up with someone in Germany, who I had run into the finish, because I always leave it to the last minute as well. So I'm like, right, she’s got 1km to go and then I'm running with all my shit, trying to get in and also you’re still wearing all your motorbike stuff so you’ve got jackets on, it’s just disgusting on and you know, usually it's hot weather as well. Unless you live in Melbourne. And this one photographer had had his position for the men and then he'd walked off and he been gone for 20 minutes. And in the meantime, I'd arrived. I was like, ‘Cool. I've got a spot’. So I set myself up. He came in and ripped through me like no one's business.

Stef Hanson  37:22
I was like, Dude, I'm here for the women's race. We can both fit here. I bags that spot. Are we in fucking primary school? What do you mean you bagsed the spot? How about we just have an adult conversation, and we figure out how we can work this together because we probably can? Wouldn't have a bar of it. So then I go into massive, I'm happy to nut things out, I can only take so much and then I just go massive defensive ‘fuck off’. Because you just like you kind of have to hold your own right? But that's the kind of stuff every single race I would have to deal with stuff like that. Now don't get me wrong. There's also a bunch of people who I worked with over a period of time who we had great relationships and would be like, Stef, come here. I saved you a spot. So there's also those people as well. Don't get me wrong. I mean, put Delly Carr and me at a finishing line together and...

Taryn Richardson  38:13
Forget to take the photos!

Stef Hanson  38:18
Yeah pretty much! But there's a man who took me under his wing and no question was a stupid… actually there was probably a few stupid questions. But he was so happy and willing to help me in every way. From the very beginning he would give me photos because he recognised what we were doing was important and wanted to be a part of that, to towards the end… You know, I'm still asking him what I thought about this, what he thinks about this photo composition because he's the master like he just is just this wealth of information, humbleness, just legend person. So then there's people like that, that you just like yes, these are the people that make a difference in the sport and don't get recognised enough to be honest with you. I think Delly Carr, is one of the, I mean, he put triathlon on the map. He is the one who was shooting from the very beginning and working for the magazines and I by no means compare myself in photography to Delly Carr in the slightest. He is the master. He is just an unbelievable human.

Taryn Richardson  39:30
I remember seeing him lying in the gutter to try and get the perfect shot one race. I can't remember where we were maybe Mooloolaba?

Stef Hanson  39:37
Yeah, he's a legend. God, the number of gutters I've laid in, cow pats I've trodden in. I fell off a motorbike a couple of times, not going fast. Mostly because we're about to pull over and I'm in such a rush that I've just like tripped over shit. I've done so many stupid things. I put a dent in the roof of Brett, my husband's car. This isn't during a race, this was at a photoshoot because I wanted to climb up top to get a better angle, put a dent in the roof. He still doesn't know, I've told I've said on a few podcasts, but he doesn't listen, I don't think he would know how to listen to a podcast so I'm sweet.

Taryn Richardson  40:16
It's a commitment for the perfect shot though. That’s some of the things that you've learned over the years, though, you've learned how to take a bomb photo, you've learned how-to video, like become a videographer. You've learned to become a podcaster. All these things are all self-taught, right?

Stef Hanson  40:31
Yeah. Self-taught/YouTube.

Taryn Richardson  40:35
And you're probably the only person I know that's got about 6000 Instagram accounts for all the different things. You have the time and the patience to manage them all. And they all look beautiful.

Stef Hanson  40:47
I don't have the patience. I hate it. Over the years, like I've gotten to a point where I despise social media, but it's a necessary evil. I used to love it. But yeah, I just went to camping just the other weekend. And it was three days no phone reception. And it was bliss. It was and I know you have said this to me. I've got it in a text message. Delete Instagram go away for a few days. I'm like I can't do it. And you're like mate. Yeah, you can. You will come back, and everything will be fine. And you're right. But it's I don't know, in this dog-eat-dog world, whatever you want to call it. It's yeah, it is hard because you need to sort of be on it.

Taryn Richardson  41:34
It's fast-paced because we've got this instant gratification mindset. That's why you're up on the evening of a race night finishing everything off because people want that information now.

Stef Hanson  41:49
Yeah absolutely

Taryn Richardson 
It makes it hard

Stef Hanson 
Yeah, it does. For a very long time, that was, this is really good, I’m really unpacking some stuff now. Thank you

Taryn Richardson 
You’re welcome. Psych session

Stef Hanson 
It is a little bit. For a very long time, I love that. I loved the craziness, the fast pace, the hecticness of getting all the things done, and then people thinking that you are crazy. I loved that; I wore that as a badge of honour. It led me to a mental breakdown, quite a few years ago. But I'm still trying to sort of weave my way through all of that. I don't like it as much anymore and that is potentially where, you know, WITSUP's shelf life, you know, started to reach its end because to a certain extent, you need to have that adrenaline pumping, you need to be working like that. I mean, I shouldn't say need to there's probably a better way or a different way to do things. But at that moment in time, or over those years, that was the way that I operated. And it worked. And I loved it. And yeah, it gave me all the things that I needed. But maybe just now I need something different.

Taryn Richardson  43:02
Yeah, I think your life perspective changes when you have kids too. You start to see things that you never saw before because it's no longer just you anymore. It's a little person that you got to keep alive.

Stef Hanson  43:13
After having Frankie, this will sound a bit wrong, but I knew I'd love her, but I had no idea how much. Like I just, I just want to hang out with her. And not all the time. She drives me insane. I'm not super patient, I've learnt and I'm really trying to, but I think that's also because I'm fiercely independent and always have been. And I've spent so many years travelling the world doing my thing and six weeks in Europe and Brett's just like ‘Yeah, no worries’. And I don't have that anymore. And I'm okay with that. That is a decision that I've made, and I'm okay with it.

Stef Hanson  43:54
Because I want to spend all this time with her. But I had, I just really had no idea just how much I would want to do that. You know, I just… yeah. So now I'm at a point where I'm really trying to design a life for us as a family not so much and selfish always sounds negative. And I don't think selfish is necessarily a negative word. But I lived a very selfish life because I did whatever I wanted to do when I could and chased that adrenaline and chased the passion and all of those kinds of things. And I wouldn't change any of that. But now, I want to, I want to do more for her. Or for us and I and I enjoy that. I love it.

Taryn Richardson  44:48
That's what happens when you have kids though. So your perspective changes like what is important shifts and changes, and I don't think people really understand that until they have kids. I know that sounds like a bit of a cop out. But there's something in your brain as a mother. It's like a switch or some weird chemical that just makes you think about life so much differently all those, small things don't matter at all anymore. And you're not chasing the shiny little magic pill and you know, running to Kona every year. It also probably helps that Brett's like such a cool calm and collected chill dude. He's like, ‘Yeah, you do you Stef, you go fill your bucket I'll be here doing my thing.’

Stef Hanson  45:26
Because filling his bucket is peace and quiet in the house. Like that's his buckets full when that happens. So he's more than happy if I'm out of the house.

Taryn Richardson  45:35
That's why you guys work so well together.

Stef Hanson  45:36
I think so, far out. I always said I thought that I wanted to be with someone who was the life of the party and this and that.

Taryn Richardson  45:42
Can't have two of you.

Stef Hanson  45:44
Can't have two of those. It's so true. It's so so true.

Taryn Richardson  45:49
Have you passed the baton of WITSUP to anyone? Has anyone picked up females in this space since WITSUP has expired?

Stef Hanson  45:57
The only ones that I'm aware of really are the team at Live Feisty headed up by Sara Gross in well she's in Canada. But let's say North America, so they're bigger over there. And they're doing some really cool things. She's an extremely intelligent woman and has studied. Again, I don't know the right terms, but equality, women's studies, all these different things at Uni, she's, yeah, she's super smart. So yeah, so like they're doing different things. But again, it's different to WITSUP.

Stef Hanson  46:40
But in terms of I guess, the women in triathlon, women in sports space, they're the only ones who I'm aware of. As far as WITSUP goes, I kind of just shut the door. And I've not done anything about it. The websites there, Instagram’s there. I still don't know what I'm going to do with it. I think it's extremely valuable. But I don't think it's, I don't know if it's valuable to anyone to go, hey, I want to take what you had, and I want to run with it. I don't know if that's, I think because I was so much of WITSUP if I'm not there? Is it same? I don't know, these are all questions that I asked myself or asked. But for me, and I'll be brutally honest, that when I realised that things needed to stop, it all happened so quickly. And I think to an extent maybe I was fighting it for a little while because I wanted to exhaust every opportunity, everything that I had before I shut it down.

Taryn Richardson  47:45
That's just you not being at peace with that decision just yet. You still wanted to hold on for a little bit longer.

Stef Hanson  47:50
Yeah, I think so. But it was one night, when it was the first or second time out of locked down in Melbourne, I can't remember, we were out for dinner. And my mate had asked me if I could do something on Monday. I said, No, I can't because I've got to do this for WITSUP. And she just said, are you getting paid to do it? I was like, no, that's just what we do. And she's like, okay, and how's that working out for you? And it just again, was that, oh, there were a lot of tears. And I fucking hated her at that point. Like I was so angry. But also really aware that I wasn't angry at her, her and I were completely fine. I was just angry at the situation and probably at myself. I didn't speak to her for three days. But I text her and said I just need space. I'm not angry at you. I just need to be my own thoughts for a bit.

Taryn Richardson 
Let me process this, you’ve brought up some mud

Stef Hanson  48:44
Yes, brought up mud. That's exactly what it was. Yeah, and I just knew. And then from there, I was very aware that because my mental health was suffering big time. I was just like, this is what, I need to pull the trigger. I just need to get this done. Because every day was a battle for me. Once I made the decision, I felt instantly better. And then it was around the anxiety around actually telling the people and doing the things. And then as soon as it was done, I was like, I had to do that.

Taryn Richardson 
Huge weight off your shoulders

Stef Hanson 
So yeah, for me at the time, it was just it wasn't about trying to figure out from a business standpoint, do I sell it? What do I do? I just was I need out and I need out now.

Taryn Richardson  49:25
You could still do that. There's still time, you know.

Stef Hanson  49:28
Yeah. If anyone wants to give me a call?

Taryn Richardson  49:32
Shameless plug anyone wants to buy WITSUP, it's on the market. So where do you see things heading in the future from here like for you? But also women in triathlon? Where do you think things are heading?

Stef Hanson  49:44
I think triathlon is in a really interesting space at the moment. It's kind of all over the shop. We see the likes of Jan Frodeno, what'd he do over the lockdown periods? He did his indoor at home, Iron distance race. He did the race against Lionel; he launched a gravel race. He's doing some incredible things. He's got a lot of resources, extremely successful, extremely marketable. He is an anomaly. Like there's not many people in the sport that are as professional as him on all the different levels.

Stef Hanson  50:18
But I'm bringing him up because we see him doing all these things and people are mad about Jan Frodeno and fair enough, but he can create all this kind of hype by himself. What does that mean for you know, creating hype around races that are hosted by event organisers when one person and obviously it's a team and so forth, but it's essentially one person who's doing his own thing and creating all this hype and excitement and changing the game? So what does that look like for other event organisers? I look at it right down to the nitty-gritty, he's created all this media hype, the live coverage, all those kinds of things, and he's doing it by himself. So that means event organisers have to step up to an extent to match what he's doing otherwise it's always going to be compared.

Taryn Richardson  51:06
Take the likes of things like Super League as well. Changes the game completely. It's awesome.

Stef Hanson  51:11
Yeah, actually, that's one of my regrets not getting on board more with things like Super League. We were missing something I think with WITSUP like Super League is exciting. And it reminds us of back in the day, which I know that's what the whole sort of ethos is around that sharp, fast TV kind of style of racing and entertainment.

Taryn Richardson  51:34
Rather than being out on the bike for hours and hours and not seeing anyone. It's yep, short laps really fast pace, lots can happen. Really good spectator sport.

Stef Hanson  51:44
Yeah exactly. PTO to an extent is trying to create excitement around racing and athletes, and I think that's a really good thing. I think what the PTO can be, can be awesome. I think they've got a lot of work to do to fix a lot of stuff. And that's a whole other podcast episode. But every other sport has their big personalities and people are obsessed with these athletes and the sporting organisations recognise that and use them as assets. Whereas traditional event organisers in the world of triathlon, don't, they just don't do that. And they haven't.

Stef Hanson  51:44
That was part of my thing, as well as like, how are we not putting these athletes on a pedestal? How are we not showcasing them to be the greatest athletes on the planet, not just in triathlon, but generally? It is insane what these athletes are doing, and they're out there, you know, particularly the long course for so long. How are we not showcasing these athletes to the world? And I think PTOs tried to do that, like they're trying to do head-to-head matches and build up hype around that. And I think that's good. And I think it's what the sport needs. But yeah, I mean, I don’t think I can answer the women in triathlon thing at the moment, because there's just so many things up in the air, and so much shit that's happening. And I don't know, with races being cancelled and refunds not being given and all these kinds of things. I think it's put a lot of people off. Certainly put me off the way that a lot of things were handled over the pandemic.

Stef Hanson  53:11
I hope that we as a collective in the sport of triathlon can learn a couple of things from the last couple of years and actually make some changes. But I think there was a real opportunity to look at where we were at as a sport over the last two years, to spend that time trying new things and testing out, but I just don't feel like anyone really did that. I mean, have I missed something? I just like, what an opportunity? Why is it now that they've talked about moving the Ironman World Championships? I mean, I'm sure they talked about it, but I mean, I don't know how you feel about it being moved from Kona, whether it should go around the globe. I still don't know. Like, I've got a foot in both camps. But why two years after we've been shut down is it just being brought up now? I'm just like, the opportunity was, you know, because if it didn't work, then we just go alright. Cool. Go back to normal. We tried something. This is the time to try shit. Do you know what I mean, I just, I don't know?

Taryn Richardson  54:17
People didn't have a lot of capacity for stuff through the pandemic though. Like you think about lots of businesses had to really quickly pivot and change things in just a shitstorm. So I definitely think it's a wasted opportunity as well. But maybe yeah, people just didn't kind of think outside the square that much. You're a creative remember, you've always got amazing ideas and what you see, people have like their blinkers on and can't even think in that space.

Stef Hanson  54:45
Yeah. But see, then that in itself frustrates me where they're not like well, why don't we pool resources. Let's spend this time to let's catch up with Stef on WITSUP and, you know, pick her brain, and see if we can work together on something.

Taryn Richardson  54:59
You have a lot of knowledge that's remaining untapped currently.

Stef Hanson  55:05
I'm certainly not an expert, but I guess I've seen, I've seen the sport from a lot of different angles. And I feel like within this sport there's too much of a narrow focus from different, you know, race organiser looks at it this way, athlete looks at it this way, and they can't see outside of that. There's a lot of tunnel vision. And in the grand scheme of things, we're a very young sport, I just see it as a real opportunity to pave the way for other sports. And I just feel like that keeps getting missed.

Taryn Richardson  55:46
So in an ideal world, then what would you like to see? If you could have anything, what would it be?

Stef Hanson  55:52
Anything in the sport? I would love to see the sport on TV in some capacity. Like I look back to the Tooheys series in Australia. But it was massive. You know, we used to watch Wide World of Sports. And that was part of the coverage, you know, on a Sunday afternoon, that's what we would watch were these people running around in bathers, and just full-on and obviously easier said than done. But I'd love to see that.

Stef Hanson  56:25
I would love to see women as a first thought, not an afterthought on many, on many, many different levels. Most recently, say, for example, with Kona, or sorry, I should refer to it as the Ironman World Championships. Because it's going to be over separate days. There are now going to be equal numbers of women, pro-women, and pro men. Great, that is awesome. I love that. However, the reason they're doing that is because they've put it over two days. And this is not a feather in your cap, because you're not doing it because you think that that is the right thing to do. You're doing it because it's money.

Stef Hanson  57:02
Same with when 70.3 World's changed to women on one day men on the next day. Awesome, great. But don't wrap that up in a nice little bow and try to convince me that you're giving equal spots, and you're giving more spots to age group women because you're trying to do this. Bullshit. You are trying to get numbers because you've then gone Oh shit, there's only actually 25% of women participating and 75% of men participating. And if we break that down into two days, that's not many women on a racecourse. So let's just see, to be made to be seen that we're doing the right thing because we care about the women. No, it's money and this might be me just being in the sport for a very long time and starting to be a little bit pessimistic about it. But it fucking it's a step sideways, not a step forward.

Taryn Richardson  57:58
Yeah, stick it to the man. I don't know if I'll get in trouble for saying this. That just epitomises the Ironman brand in my mind, though. Like, I don't really feel like they're out there for the athlete, they're there to make money.

Stef Hanson  58:11
And no one has an issue with you making money. No one. However, don't try and pitch to me that you're all about the athlete, when there's just shit like that that's happening. That when you're cancelling races but leaving it to a certain time so that you don't need to give a refund. That's not about the athlete. I get it. The last few years has been frickin hard for events. It's so hard. And I feel for every single event organiser Big or small, across the globe, because it's been an absolute shit show. But what I don't like is the lack of transparency. Just be honest. Like in a world where it is there is so much obviously things aren't as crazy, I guess is what they were a year or so ago.

Stef Hanson  59:01
I think Felix from Challenge did an exceptional job when he just said he cancelled Challenge Roth, This is the very first year. And he said the thing is, there's so much uncertainty in the world right now. I would love to keep sort of going, we're going to see how we go blah, blah, keep hold of your money. But he's like, You know what, what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you an answer, because no one else can give you an answer right now. So we're going to cancel it. And I was like, yes, just be honest. People respect, honesty, transparency, and I just don't feel like that always comes across.

Taryn Richardson  59:39
What's the future hold for Stef Hanson?

Stef Hanson  59:41
Great question. Still in that kind of phase of figuring stuff out. But essentially, right now I've taken all these skills that I've built over the years. Because I learned very early on with WITSUP that I couldn't afford to pay a photographer, so I had to learn how to become a photographer. And that's yeah, that's where I just kept building out those skills. But for me, it was just because I had, I had a job to do. I never really sort of value that as a skill set that I could sell. So I'm kind of doing that like I'm editing, random podcasts. I'm editing a podcast on finance. I'm editing a podcast about relationship advice, just random shit. But yeah, I'm doing video editing for an insurance company, like just it's so random.

Stef Hanson  1:00:35
But that's kind of sort of paying the bills stuff at the moment. We're working on some stuff, which I actually can't talk about. But essentially, we want to pull together our passions, our skills, and when I say our I mean Brett, and myself. Pull all that together and really work as a team on some things for the future. And most currently for him. I mean, he's back at work in a corporate cheffing gig, but we want to keep building on him, as you know, over 30 years of experience as a chef and doing some cooking classes. And so we're building out a membership platform for that. And when I say we building it out, I mean, I'm doing all that because he's good in the kitchen. And I'm the one who's the computer guy.

Taryn Richardson  1:01:25
So it sounds like you get lots on the cards, then but you're using all your skills in an interim phase before you find what that next passion project is. But this time, it's not going to be a passion project. It's going to be like the bomb business to set you guys up for the future.

Stef Hanson  1:01:41
That's kind of the goal. Yeah, yeah. Again, never going to be driven by money. It's not going to be my number one thing, but it will be a big factor. But yeah, what I can say is essentially, we want to join. Brett loves sport as well, but that's where my heart is, is storytelling through sport, and storytelling through food is kind of where we're going with all of this. And we'll get there.

Taryn Richardson  1:02:08
I think that sounds really exciting. Like you have so many skills that you've built with WITSUP that you can leverage with anything now. And it's just, you know, finding a bit of direction, but it's also okay to be at peace with not having one for a while, and just chilling the f out.

Stef Hanson  1:02:25
Yeah. And again, I'm in that phase similar to before WITSUP where I'm doing things. I've got a rough idea and we're just, I'm a big believer in closing a door, it opens a window. Within a week of me shutting WITSUP, I had job opportunities popping up, which I didn't even know existed. So yeah, I'm just sort of following it. My number one thing is I just want to work with good humans. So I'm saying no to some things. And yes, to just good humans and being a part of something.

Taryn Richardson  1:03:05
Because you're a connector, you have to have good people around you because you like these good connections.

Stef Hanson 
I do, I really do

Taryn Richardson 
But there's also no time in life to work with people that you don't enjoy working with. If you are running your own show running your own gig, you don't have to work with people that you don't gel with. And that's part of the perks of having your own business.

Stef Hanson  1:03:25
Absolutely. Actually, someone sent me this job role the other day that was available. And I think I would have been perfect for it. But the thought of working for someone else. I just can’t do it.

I've done it on and off. But who I am, I need to just be doing my own thing. Yeah, calling the shots but knowing that I can hang out with Frankie and then do work at 10 o'clock at night. And I'm okay with that. Because I'm setting my own hours and do my own thing. And yeah, don't get me wrong. I clearly work my ass off but it's on my terms.

Taryn Richardson  1:04:04
If this conversation has proven anything, the whole reason that you started WITSUP was because you were told you couldn't do something in a way and so that just epitomises you right? Like, you tell me I can't do something, watch me.

Stef Hanson  1:04:17
To the big things, to the little things. I am the person in our group of friends, who you just need a damn me to do something and say that I can't do it and I will do it. That's just who I am.

Taryn Richardson  1:04:27
A dare you to move to Brisbane. You wouldn't Stef, you wouldn't. Bring Frankie, bring Henry.

Stef Hanson  1:04:37
We'll start a commune up there.

Taryn Richardson  1:04:38
Yes. Me and Brett will get in the kitchen. I'll cook for you; you can take videos of us we'll sell it to the masses. Sports Dietitian and Chef in combo.

Stef Hanson  1:04:48
Do you like being in the kitchen? Do you enjoy it?

Taryn Richardson  1:04:49
Look not to the point where I'm slaving away to cook something that's going to take hours to make one dish. I prefer a fast cook but knowing that it's going to be delicious, but also nutritious.

Stef Hanson  1:04:51
Yeah, fair enough. I hate the kitchen. Hate it.

Taryn Richardson  1:05:06
And that's okay. You don't have to love it because you married a chef so it's all good.

Stef Hanson  1:05:10
I'm not stupid.

Taryn Richardson 
Poor Bretty.

Stef Hanson 
No Bretty is the best.

Taryn Richardson  1:05:14
Well, thank you so much, Stef. The sport of triathlon is so grateful to have you in it and have you as part of it to really try and promote females, as athletes on the equal playing fields to males. Without you that wouldn't have happened. And so who knows what sort of trench we would be in without Stef Hanson and WITSUP to do that for us.

Stef Hanson  1:05:36
Thank you, I will take that compliment. And you and I spoke not long after or rather you text me not long after I ended WITSUP. And it's still it's really important for me to hear that because it's hard to see it sometimes. So thank you.

Taryn Richardson  1:05:54
Welcome. It's your life's work in a way. And it's almost like your baby, you know, like you nurture it for so long. And then kind of is your identity in a way?

Stef Hanson  1:06:03
Absolutely. That was a big part of the problem.

Taryn Richardson  1:06:07
So where can people find you if they want to see more? You've got a million Instagram accounts. Where do you want to direct people?

Stef Hanson  1:06:13
Let's send you over to @stefhansonproductions. That's where I'm starting to build that out. So that's what it is on Instagram. Yeah, I'm just @stefhanson, on my personal page. And then the other one is if you want to follow my extremely talented husband, who is a chef and we're doing a lot of work with that, his handle is @youcantrustaskinnychef because I think that's funny.

Taryn Richardson  1:06:41
That Instagram account has been live for a while, and it used to be called chef Bretty. And one day you posted something. I can't even remember what it was like. I'm just a man standing in the kitchen asking you to trust me or something like that. And I'm like, this is definitely not Brett, this is this is Stef, hands down running this page. Like I didn't think it was him in the first place. But that was a dead giveaway that it was you.

Stef Hanson  1:07:05
Yeah, yeah. True. True story. You can trust a skinny chef. I don't think he even has the password to that Instagram.

Taryn Richardson  1:07:14
Does he know how to use Instagram?

Stef Hanson  1:07:16
He's just the scroller. He just scrolls so he knows how to look at pretty pictures. That's about it.

Taryn Richardson  1:07:23
All right. Well, I'll link that in the show notes and people can go and stalk you. If anyone wants any podcasts produced any videos produced? What else you doing, photos?

Taryn Richardson  1:07:34
You have to be in Melbourne at this point. But once the borders open, then you've heard it here first Stef is moving to Brisbane.

Stef Hanson  1:07:40
See you soon.

Taryn Richardson  1:07:41
Thank you so much, Stef, thank you so much for your time. It was a selfish decision to try and get you on the podcast because I love talking with you. And you've just got so many amazing stories. But I would really love listeners to just step back and think about what has evolved for women in sport and women in triathlon over the last 10 years because a lot of it is because of you.

Taryn Richardson  1:08:04
I think females are definitely exploding at the moment, you know, female nutrition’s going off, there's a lot of research in that space. People are starting to understand that, hey, females don't get paid as much as males like they might win, and they still don't get paid as much their prize money is less if they have any at all. They don't get the same coverage. They don't get the same sponsorship opportunities. And just like the gender pay gap, we need to bridge that gap for women in sport so that they're equal with men because they're doing the exact same thing. It's not like the women's course is shorter.

Stef Hanson  1:08:36

Taryn Richardson 
Preaching to the choir

Stef Hanson 
This is a sport, in general, you're talking about because, in triathlon, the prize money has been equal for a long time across, I don't know of a race where it's not equal. So that again is a missed opportunity for us to be a leader in the sport. To be telling people that this is what we do. And you know, we yeah, we can be a leader. That's just prize money itself that I can guarantee you that sponsorship, so a lot of pros when they win, they get bonuses from their sponsors. I can guarantee you there'll be a disparity between men and women in the sport of triathlon with that, but again, why don't we, why don't we make those changes and then sing it from the frickin rooftops? You know? It's a real missed opportunity.

Taryn Richardson  1:09:26
Yeah. 100% Thank you so much, Stef. I'll see you in Brisbane soon.


Taryn Richardson  1:09:30
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned. Email me at [email protected]. You could also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media at @dietitian.approved so I can give you a shout out too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

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