Briggett Smit: “Even Before I Started Running, I Made a Bucket List”

Briggett Smit: “Even Before I Started Running, I Made a Bucket List”

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Each week, we highlight a unique NYRR Team for Kids runner and talk training runs, race-day rituals, and recovery. This week, Briggett Smit, who will celebrate her 60th birthday at TCS New York City Marathon, talks about the life event that go her running.

What excites you most about running the TCS New York City Marathon with NYRR Team for Kids?
The youth programs that TFK provides, the crowds, the bands, the route, just everything. It's New York! What runner does not want to run in New York and be part of that amazing atmosphere? It's exciting and beyond amazing.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place is Cape Town. I live in Cape Town. We are surrounded by mountains, the sea, and vineyards, so we are really spoiled for choice. I can choose to run on the beach or alongside the beach, through vineyards or alongside vineyards, and no, I do not run on the mountain. But I do get to enjoy the view of the mountain. I must admit, though, that I have dreamed of running in Central Park, and maybe that might become my favorite place? Who knows, only November 5 will tell!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
No, never run with music, as running with headphones in a race here in South Africa is a disqualifiable offense. As I do training runs on the road, it's important to always be aware of your surroundings—traffic any other potential dangers.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Don't have one, but here at home we often have vendors selling "boerewors rolls." That’s a hot dog roll with a piece of sausage covered in braised onions and some tomato sauce—it’s yummy!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running started in 2000 after a divorce. I was devastated and my self-confidence was at an all-time low. I needed to find something positive to fill the void. In addition to my faith, which was pivotal in my life, I needed to find an activity.

I started off by walking and even before I was running, I made a bucket list. New York City Marathon, Comrades Marathon. Friends who had been running for years found this extremely funny, as some of them had not attempted either of these races.

In 2003, I did my first marathon in order to qualify for the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. I did my first Two Oceans Ultra in that same year and then for the next two consecutive years. In 2005, I completed the Comrades Marathon. It was amazing. I cannot describe the feeling, running onto the University of Cape Town campus where the Two Oceans Ultra finishes and into the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, where the Comrades Marathon finished when I did it in 2005. I had my family waiting for me at the finish line—what an awesome feeling. I cannot describe to you what it meant to me.

So, New York remains on the bucket list and I hope to tick that off on November 5. I entered in 2012, but the race was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions? If so, please explain.
Not really. I just set my clothes out the night before the race and always just say a prayer for safety—that I'll be fine during the race.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
I was watching a video about NYRR Team for Kids published in February 2016. What was said resonated with me. Running influenced every aspect of my life. As I was making progress with my running and completing ultra-marathons, it just gave me an injection of self-confidence. It gave me the self-belief that if I could run and finish ultras, I could do anything. Succeeding at running spills over into every area of your life. I chose TFK because I know it does make a difference.

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I'll be 60 years old on November 5, on the day I run the marathon. I am married and have two sons, ages 30 and 26. I also have a granddaughter who is six weeks old. I work as a client relationship consultant in the insurance industry. I go to the gym at least five days a week and on Saturday or Sunday, my husband and I normally do either a race or a long run (not together because his pace is way, way faster than mine). I enjoy traveling and reading.

To learn more about NYRR Team for Kids, visit runwithtfk.org.

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