HILLS RESIDENT JANA PITTMAN has been breaking barriers most of her life. She is the only Australian women to compete in both Summer and Winter Olympic Games (as a track athlete and on bobsleigh) she’s a proud mum of four, author and a junior doctor at Blacktown Hospital.
At the moment she is on television screens as a participant in SAS Australia where 18 “celebrity recruits” have been put through the challenging selection course that the SAS puts would-be recruits through.
The two weeks of filming earlier this year saw her gassed, jump out of a helicopter a few times, submerged in a vehicle, face sky-high challenges and embark on constant runs with a 20kg pack on her back. Mud, cold showers, mice and drop toilets were part of daily life as was lack of sleep.
“The sleep deprivation and continuous adrenaline were really challenging. You lie awake wondering if they will come in and gas you, or kidnap you, or do a beasting (exercises) in the middle of the night,” she said.
Jana Pittman had given birth to her son Charlie six months before filming started and took on the challenge at the end of her maternity leave,
“I wanted to challenge myself physically, particularly after having a baby only months prior. I also wanted to test my mental strength.
“I was particularly keen to do SAS as I have always wanted to be involved with the Australian Defence Force. I have several family members, including my brother, who have served and I wanted to experience a little of the world they lived in.
“It was what I expected… very, very tough but also incredibly rewarding. “The moment we arrived they gassed us and stripped us to our undies.”
She says the hardest moment on the course was boxing former tennis player Alicia Molik. The scariest moment was being submerged in a vehicle for 40 seconds before being allowed to escape.
According to Jana Pittman the fear-based challenges were her favourites “I also liked conquering my own mind on some of the team and partner challenges where your body screamed at you to stop, but the group morale pushed you beyond what you thought was humanly possible.”
The lessons she learned were: ”I am tougher than I thought I was. How important my kids and family are to happiness. How I need to care less about opinions and more about things that matter, such as time with family and making a difference in meaningful things,” she says.
Three days after filming Jana Pittman was back at work at Blacktown Hospital.
She finished a Masters of Reproductive Medicine last year with the aim of becoming an obstetrician/gynaecologist and work in Women’s health.
Jana Pittman is an ambassador to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation and Westmead Medical Research Foundation.
SAS Australia airs on Channel 7 and 7plus, Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm, which she is watching with her family. At the moment Jana Pittman is one of 12 remaining contestants.
LOCATION: Capertree Valley NSW
FILMING: 2 weeks
SLEEP: an average of 4.5 hours
NUMBERS: 18 recruits, 345 mousetraps 200 crew on set 57 cameras and 6 drones