The country’s fittest mum, Sarah Wikotu with husband Codie and her three children, Ahurei, Praise and Isis-Rain. Photo: Matt Brown.
A Blenheim personal trainer has taken a top spot in an international fitness competition after competing in memory of a special friend.
Taking the title of Fittest Mum, 6ZEROfunctional Fitness NZ owner Sarah Wikotu earned the accolade by completing seven gruelling, high intensity CrossFit workouts in one day at the Auckland competition.
And the mum of three competed for a cause close to her heart, Small Steps for Hannah, a charity dedicated to ending domestic violence.
Sarah says the competition is special to her; it’s where she befriended and previously competed alongside homicide victim Hannah Clarke.
Hannah was murdered, fatally burned in a petrol fire in her car, along with her three children, in a quadruple murder–suicide by her estranged husband, Rowan Baxter, last February in Brisbane.
“There’s been a lot of mourning and grieving in the year since. It’s still unbelievable,” says Sarah.
“It was really, really hard.
She says she beat the COVID lockdown and was able to go to the funeral.
“I represented Hannah at the competition this year,” she says.
“The competition put a portion of their fees to the charity.”
It’s the fourth time Sarah has competed in the Fittest Mum competition, but her first win, although she has podiumed every year.
“I definitely was wanting a win at some time.
“I’m quite lucky in the sense I have my own home gym business.”
For her efforts, she got a plaque, protein snacks, but best of all – bragging rights.
“Though it’s a competition, it’s a really supportive environment.
She says she will bathe in the glory for a bit before deciding whether to defend the title.
The competition, which is only open to mothers, has several categories and is inclusive for beginners to the elite, Sarah says.
And some of the competitors are in the elite.
“Some of the women are very fit, it’s a high level.”
“While you’re doing it, it’s painful and you think, why am I doing this to myself. But then you finish, and you feel great and you’re like – that’s why – I love it.”
Sarah says taking out the competition shows that it’s achievable for athletes, even from a small town like Blenheim.
“We have so many top athletes in New Zealand.
“Even from a small home-based gym, you can throw down with the big dogs – even as a mum.
“Even with kids, being time-poor and struggling with sleep, it’s achievable.”