Having had personal experience with hospice through her mother working tirelessly for the cause, Suzanne Smith knew there was only one charity she was going to support for the Comrades Marathon 2018!

Could you please tell us a brief overview of your background?

I was born in England, but moved to South Africa when I was 7 - since then I've lived in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Botswana, the Free state and Gauteng, where I am currently living in Irene. Moving around when I was younger has given me a passion for travelling - I enjoy trying new things and being challenged. I am a bioengineer and work on developing low-cost medical and environmental diagnostic devices and hope my research will contribute to helping people. I enjoy Pilates, Photography, chocolate and of course running!

What got you started into running – was there anyone close to you that inspired you?

I used to do cross country when I was young on the hot and dusty dirt tracks in Botswana. I ran on and off (mainly off) for many years after that and on a weekend away in September 2015 my father in law, Deon - inspired and challenged me to get back in to it, as he was doing so after many years. I started running (mainly walking) and with the goal set for my first 10km in the October and my first half marathon with my father in law in 2016 I pushed through and was soon hooked.

How long have you been running for in general and for Comrades?

Since September 2015 I have been dedicated to my running. I have done several half marathons, two marathons and the Two Oceans Ultra in 2017. Comrades 2018 will be my first!

What do you enjoy about the event?

‎The spirit of Comrades is the biggest inspiration to me and I am so excited to be part of this amazing challenge!

How do you prepare for an event this big?

One step at a time - literally. Training programmes by the pros are the way to go - weekly targets, even daily to break it down in to manageable goals and progress.

Who are your biggest fans/supporters?

My husband - he is incredible - and my family are not far behind!

What is your favourite food before and after a run?

Before a long run or race I love my soaked oats, banana and peanut butter. Afterwards, anything goes! A good pizza is always a winner, and chocolate is a given!

‎Do you enjoy running alone or prefer a group?

I enjoy running alone early in the mornings - It's my time to focus on me or just space out without worry. I enjoy running with others when I get the chance though, it just doesn't happen very often.

How has running changed your life?

Running has changed everything in my life. Physically, emotionally and in all ways, I feel the change - I know it all sounds like a cliché, but it really has brought balance to my life. I have scoliosis and have had two back operations with a lower back fusion. Any pain I used to experience has become non-existent and I feel fitter, stronger, happier and filled with energy!

Is there any reason you chose Hospice as your preferred beneficiary?

Hospice holds a special place in my heart - my mom has worked for Hospice for many years and I've seen first-hand the care and peace she has brought to patients and their families over the years. Many of us have been affected by terminal illness in some way and as Deon likes to say: Hospice does the work of angels. And that is why I would like to try to raise some money for this amazing charity as part of my Comrades journey. Click here, and help Suzanne get her target for hospice!