Jogging? Check. Boxing? Check. Touch footy? Check. Weights and cardio programs? Check. Teaching fitness classes? Check, check, check. By her own admission, DW Fox Tucker Property, Wine and Hospitality specialist Lisa Harrington does not have a go-slow button. But if you think that means she has less energy available for her legal work, think again. Anyone underestimating this former swimming instructor, ballet teacher, national wine export manager and now marathon runner, does so at their peril.
The writing was on the wall for Lisa from a very early age. While other kids were watching DVDs and playing Nintendo, she was mastering tumble turns and demi-pliés. And, we might add, loving it.
She started swimming and ballet lessons before she started school and excelled at both. By the time she was 16 she was teaching ballet part-time at Avant Studio in Tea Tree Gully. Within another 12 months she was also a qualified swimming instructor working at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre and Salisbury Pool. And despite that extra-curricular workload, she still managed to do well enough in her Year 12 studies to secure a place at The University of Adelaide graduating with a double degree in Commerce (majoring in Accounting and Finance) and Law (Honors).
“I’ve always been a person who loves a challenge,” says Lisa. “I like to get involved in things.”
Not surprisingly, balancing university study with work commitments presented no problems. Although the nature of her pursuits changed on occasion, the workload was virtually constant.
She stopped teaching ballet after five years in 2004, the same year she completed her Commerce degree, but by early 2005 had filled this “spare time” with a job in the accounts department at Yaldara Winery – the beginning of her ongoing interest in the wine industry. Midway through that year, with her Bachelor of Laws now well underway, she was promoted to the position of Bulk Export Manager for Yaldara’s parent company, McGuigan Simeon (now owned by Australian Vintage).
Again, Lisa thrived. “It was fantastic experience,” she says. “I loved the added responsibility. Although, I have to admit, initially I did think they were crazy to trust a 21 year old kid with their multi-million-dollar export business!”
In 2006, while completing her Law degree, Lisa also undertook a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies.
And, because these two university programs, a high-level management position and teaching people to swim was not quite filling the diary, she accepted a friend’s invitation to start playing social netball. “It was all about learning something new,” smiles Lisa. “And having an excuse to catch up with school friends.” In 2007 she graduated from Uni’ and was admitted to practice law.
“This was the beginning of what I think of as my ‘real job’,” she says. But far from being the end of what she conversely calls her ‘play jobs’, in that same year Lisa also became a qualified fitness instructor and started teaching after-hours Les Mills classes at ladies-only gym Fernwood in St Agnes. Seven years’ on, she has taught at many gyms across Adelaide and her latest involvement is with the ‘six weeks’ program where she takes the cardio (particularly running) program.
“I guess it’s just in my blood,” she says. “It’s also an excellent stress release. A lot of my work in law involves sitting and thinking, so its nice to unwind by doing something that’s the exact opposite. “And to be honest, it’s only on the days I don’t do anything extra that I ever feel tired.”
We could go on. We could tell you how and when Lisa added touch football and distance running to her routine – how she is a regular on the fun run circuit, running Adelaide’s City to Bay, Sydney’s City to Surf and Melbourne’s City to Sea, and more serious runs having completed the Gold Coast Marathon and the Great Ocean Road Marathon, which is a whole 45kms.
She is so dedicated to her running that when her now husband surprised her in Sydney last year and proposed on the eve of Sydney’s City to Surf she celebrated hard … and then she ran the next morning still on a high and achieving a personal best time despite the celebratory champagnes the night before!
In the lead-up to her wedding (which was in April this year) you would be forgiven for thinking Lisa would slow down a bit … but nope, she added boxing and the first ever Adelaide Oval Stair Challenge to the mix instead.
“The next day my calves were sore, but my legs were fine.”
Last year, on the back of marathon training, she agreed to do the Fred Hollows 50km Charity Trek in Sydney on short notice. “I thought it was a walk … turns out, it wasn’t!” says Lisa, who’s team raised more than $5,000 for the charity.
Although we’d never liken her to the Energizer Bunny (because she’d kill us), that analogy, although slightly embarrassing, certainly wouldn’t be conceptually inaccurate. When Lisa’s real job gets particularly busy, she’s even been known to go out for a game, class or run, and then come back to the office and get back to it.
“I find that works really well for me,” she enthuses. “When I get back to work I feel energised and focused and able to get on with the job.
“It also helps that I love my work, of course. Every day brings new challenges, and I just find it really rewarding to help my clients achieve their objectives.”
As you’d imagine, that’s music to our ears. Clients seem to appreciate it too. But if anyone from a rival law firm happens to be reading, forget about it.
Boxing class or run
Teach ‘Six Weeks’ Cardio Program or participate in Cross Core.
Weights legs program
One hour Running Program run by James Ezard.
Teach ‘Six Weeks’ Cardio Program or run
Evening touch football or Hip Hop class (her latest new activity)
Run or rest (if she has earned it!)
Run and boxing class or weights program.
Rest or run (if her husband lets her!)