This year got off to a really tough start for former Flight Centre employee Sarah Butler when she spontaneously split the vertebral artery in her neck whilst at the cricket with her Flight Centre colleagues.

Unaware of the severity at the time, she ended up in hospital and on sick leave for three weeks, with a split artery and blood clot in her neck from C2-C5.

“This put me on permanent stroke watch until June/July this year,” she told KARRYON.

Flight Centre

At age 26, and having been an competitive swimmer previously, this was a very strange injury for Sarah to have experienced.

“The doctors still don’t know what caused it and I continue to be on medication and have tests to date,” she said.

“Flight Centre was very supportive during this period, even to the point of fundraising to help me with my medical expenses through the Flight Centre Foundation.”

Former Flight Centre employee Sarah Butler

Once cleared to exercise around July, Sarah made a pact with a fellow colleague Liam who wanted to attempt his first triathlon.

Flight Centre

“This was motivation for me to get fit again, whilst also supporting him to achieve his goals,” she said.

They decided to recruit as many other Flighties in the process, including Sarah’s housemate Dani who had never run 10km and just 12 weeks ago couldn’t even run 1km!

“This is the third time I have participated in the Noosa triathlon and although it wasn’t my best time I was proud to be able to finish and enjoy the accomplishments of my peers,” she said.

Flight Centre

Fourteen people participated as part of the group (two individual triathlons and four teams of three), the majority of whom were from the Flight Centre Leisure Marketing department.

They all booked a house for the weekend, making sure to “pre-hydrate” each night with gin mixed with Powerade. HAHA.

“On the Sunday we were up at 4:15am to prepare for the event before the first individual athlete Liam Kirk started at 6:50am,” Sarah explained.

Flight Centre

She said the conditions were testing: Noosa beach had white caps, 30km hour winds and 40 degree heat on the running track.

“The group all rallied around each participant to calm nerves. Some were very anxious, with four competing their first ever ocean swim,” Sarah said.

They cheered each other on across the finish line to smash personal goals, whether it be running the full 10km, completing their first open water swim or beating a personal best time.

Flight Centre

They finished the weekend off with some cheeky beverages (Flightie style) on the Sunday evening at the Noosa Surf Club where they celebrated each others success.

The group is already looking to sign up for their next triathlon with most of them planning to participate in the full individual triathlon on the Gold Coast next May.

Join us in congratualting these Flighties on their amazing efforts.