Athletic ‘Marty’ remembers flying high, awesome feeling

Theresa “Marty” Stolberg is the current Ipswich and District Athletic Club vice-president, having fulfilled multiple coaching and administrative roles.  Marty was previously a national level heptathlete and an Australian over-30 netballer.



TODAY’S spotlight is on champion Ipswich athlete Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin).

Nickname:  Marty.

Athletic achievements:  Little Athletics state team aged 11 (1984) and 14 (1987).  Pan Pacific School champion high jump (1.82m), Queensland team first heptathlon (1990/91) and placed in top three for next five years.  Represented Australia in Taiwan and New Zealand in heptathlon and high jump.

Favourite coach:  Geoff Jones.  Mr Jones, as we called him, did not flog us or push us to our limits.  He rather had a holistic approach to training and was good at creating a team atmosphere among our squad.  He was very knowledgeable for a volunteer coach and took the time to get to know us as people not just athletes and managed to get many of us to national levels in a variety of events.

Theresa “Marty” Stolberg during her athletics career.

What did you love about the sport? It is also sometimes what I hate ― it’s black and white.  You win a race ― you are a winner ― and when you lose you are out.  It can be cut throat, for eg qualifying times.  Sometimes you can be 1cm off making a state or national team but you are not picked because of that 1cm.  I love it and hate it (respect it) at the same time.

Favourite event:  High jump.  The feeling of flying over the bar is incredible.  It’s actually quite easy once you have the correct run-up and technique.  I just loved when the competition started with 20 athletes then one by one they were eliminated until only three remained.  It’s an awesome feeling that you have maintained your mental and physical strength until the end.

Any superstitions? I used to put baby powder on my feet before I put my socks on for good luck.

Do you follow the sport today/your thoughts? No, I don’t follow it today.  In fact, I now think it’s kind of weird.  I think Usain Bolt saved track and field from an enormous amount of criticism surrounding drug cheats a few years back.  He made athletics popular and well respected again.  I admire athletes for their dedication and understand the effort that is required to make a national team let alone represent your country at an Olympics.  I am delighted that we have two women who have jumped the qualifying height for the Olympics in 2021.

What are you up to these days? I am vice-president of the Ipswich and District Athletics Club.  I coach a squad of athletes called the Marty squad and I do sessions in Ipswich, Springfield, Centenary and St Lucia.  I also coach at schools during the day as part of the sporting schools program.  I also coach netball, basketball and athletics at primary schools.  I play a bit of social netball and basketball and hope to compete in the Pan Pacific Masters Games in November.

Are your kids involved in sport? All three of my children love sport.  They have tried soccer, netball, indoor netball, basketball, touch footy, gymnastics and athletics.  My eldest Tyla is currently on a scholarship for basketball in the USA.  My son Liam loves basketball and was part of the U18 State Championship winning team.  Toby, my youngest, plays basketball and is a promising high jumper.

Did you have a hero growing up? I didn’t have a hero as such but do remember being in awe of older female athletes here in Ipswich like Deanne Kerwin, Kerri Kinnane and Belinda Hoonhout to name a few.  I just wanted to be like them and they were very inspiring for me.