International Women’s Day – Susie Chan

20 April 2017 by
First published: 8 March 2016

Find out more about one of the most inspirational women for International Women’s Day – Susie Chan.

Susie Chan is a record breaking ultramarathon runner…and that really is all there is to say! Susie is seriously inspiring and given she’s a friend of (she paced our run club last summer), we thought we’d take the opportunity to find out more about how she deals with challenges.

Q. What inspires you to take on new challenges and test yourself?

A. I get constantly inspired by people around me. These are people who achieve fantastic running feats; running fast or far. I also become inspired by people who try to better themselves in any way. For those who have only just swallowed the fear about trying something new, running can be quite daunting starting out (I found it so myself!). Seeing people start out and go on to race their first 10K and beyond keeps me hooked. I love meeting so many people via running, the enthusiasm is always infectious. I am also inspired by wonderful surroundings. I have a huge ‘bucket-list’ of races around the world!

Q. What’s your next challenge?

A. I have the Centurion 50-mile Grand Slam and Beyond the Ultimate’s Jungle Ultra – 230K through the Peruvian Jungle in June. I’m also a pacer for Virgin Money London Marathon this year.

Q. Can you share one of the more challenging/scary situations you’ve found yourself in?

A. In my first ever race I was petrified. Everyone else looked so fit and like they knew what they were doing. It was terribly daunting. I get nervous before short races, 5Ks and 10Ks. The treadmill world record attempt was also quite terrifying. Anything that I pressure myself to do always makes me more scared.

Q. What did you do to overcome it?

A. You just have to get on with it. Looking at it objectively: it’s only running. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t run so well. There is always another race.

Q. How did it feel?

A. Overcoming it? It felt good! With races and in fact, running, it’s the bit before, the waiting that is the worst. Once you get going you realise there’s not much to be scared of. One foot in front of the other!

Q. What do you see as the biggest challenges for women in sport? And what do you think we need to do to overcome them?

A. If I’m honest I don’t like to think negatively about barriers; things that work against women. I’m a positive person and see things as challenges – opportunities to improve, prove and own. In the sport I do, running ultras, women tend to perform very well indeed, especially women my age. It is empowering to think that at 40 years of age you can put your race clothes on and ‘tow the line’ with anyone. It’s a very inclusive sport. Having belief in yourself, confidence (whether that’s to put your trainers on for the first time and venture out for a run/walk to taking a race) and being happy with whatever it is you are achieving is the key, for men or women.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

A. Enjoy it. That is so very important. If you’re not enjoying it, then go back to basics. Enjoying it will bring you the biggest rewards. Running with my friends and doing races with people I enjoy running with has been the best and most rewarding experience. I don’t look back on my PBs thinking: ‘what a fantastic time I got’, I always just cherish the races and runs with my friends.