Turning sporting success into a national business chain
Rob de Castella, aka Deeks is Australian running royalty. He is arguably the greatest long distance runner this country has ever produced. His success on the track is only rivalled by his business achievements with Deeks Health Foods boasting cafes, restaurants and stockists all over the country. In their chat Deeks shares with Matt how his quest for excellence helped him in life and how he got the gig to be the voice of the Beep Test.
Matt Collins: After running, you went on to start Deeks Health Foods. There are stockists and cafes all over the country. Why was that the path you took after your running career?
Rob de Castella: I’ve always been interested in health and well being. As an athlete, I had to absolutely live a healthy lifestyle. So we started on this quest nearly 15 years ago to produce a range of bakery products that were 100 per cent grain free and we are still going today.
MC: You’re one of the best long distance runners this country has ever seen. How has your sporting prowess helped you in business?
RdC: I think there are a lot of similarities. It’s a long haul, you don’t get instant results. You need to get a good team around you. I think in business having someone to just bounce ideas off is quite important. You need to understand there are ups and downs. We are seeing that more than ever with the current COVID-19 crisis. But you also need to celebrate your achievements. Once you have patted yourself on the back you then get on with the next thing down the road.
MC: We certainly are living in unprecedented times. Has it had much of an impact on your business?
RdC: Yeah absolutely. Our cafes and restaurants have taken a hit. It’s really tough. I really feel for a lot of the small, family-owned businesses out there and their staff who are being laid off.
MC: I have a bone to pick with you Rob de Castella. Along with many high school students, I’ve had many nightmares over my time worried about the dreaded Beep Test. You were the voice for that. How did that come about?
RdC: It was done when I was director of the AIS. The coaches asked if I would do the voice over and I was very happy to support it.
MC: What’s the highest level you ever got to on the Beep Test?
RdC: Well, too be honest, I haven’t actually ever done it. I was just happy lining up for a couple of marathons.
MC: Is there an easy answer to why some of the African nations produced such superior runners?
RdC: I think it’s a combination of natural ability and it’s just their way of life. They have an amazing work ethic. Their commitment to hard training is something like I have never seen anywhere else in the world.