By MBALI TANANA
Running for a cause is what has inspired Frances Smith to enter the 2016 Comrades Marathon scheduled between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on May 29.
Smith, a 49-year-old stay-at-home mother, aims to raise funds for The King’s Children’s Home in Glen Eden after she saw the plight of the institution.
The home, run by Jonathan and Tracy King, is a registered non-profit organisation which has cared for more than 100 children since it started operating seven years ago. The couple care for abandoned and abused children brought to them by police and social workers.
“My three-year-old daughter Jemma attends their creche and that is where I see the plight of the children,” said Smith.
“The children are aged from new-born up to four years, and that is the age where they are most needy and using nappies or formula.”
Smith said this was not the first time she would be running for charity.
“Although I have been out of the game for a while now, it’s been more than five years since I ran my last marathon and this will be my fourth one. The first one I did in 2002 while I was still working at the East London Child and Youth Care Centre as a marketing fundraiser and because I knew the challenges the institution was faced with, it only made sense for me to offer myself for the institution.”
Smith managed to raise R10000 by asking companies to pledge an amount of money towards each kilometre she managed to complete, or donate a lump sum.
In 2003 she approached other athletes to join in the initiative and raised more than R40000 for the Child and Youth Centre.
Smith has been training with her husband Martin every morning and afternoon in preparation for the gruelling 90km Comrades.
“Running alone is a ministry and while I run across the beautiful scenery I am overwhelmed by the fact that I am physically healthy, while there are others who may have the will to run, but physically can’t.
“And the breathtaking scenery makes it just as worthwhile when you think of what God has blessed us with.”
Smith said her request for sponsors and raising funds put a lot of pressure on her to complete the marathon.
“In the end it’s not just about my sacrifice of running the distance of 90km, but it’s about those little vulnerable faces and what the funding can do to improve their lives and make a difference regardless how small.
“That’s all the inspiration I need to get to the finish line.”