Sophie Smith: Superwoman, Local Legend and… Mountaineer!
We’ve already established in previous articles that Coogee local Sophie Smith is an absolute superhero. After giving birth to premature triplets in 2006, Sophie and her husband Ash faced unimaginable tragedy. Their son Henry lived for only one precious hour and their sons Evan and Jasper also passed away after only 10 and 58 days.
To lose one child is unthinkable, to lose three is soul-destroying, but the couple decided to transform their grief into positivity by running the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon and raising much needed funds to save future babies and prevent other parents from facing the same heartache.
13 years later, having also lost her husband Ash (43) to a battle with cancer, Sophie has made Running For Premature Babies her full-time job. The charity has raised over $3 million to date which has funded critical research, provided 45 pieces of life-saving equipment and directly benefited 5,000 babies.
But Ms Smith’s Herculean efforts don’t end there. This unfathomably strong woman has now set her sights on a new fundraising challenge: The Annapurna Marathon. That’s right, she’s going to be running a full-on, hilly as all hell marathon at high altitude in the bloody Himalayas!
The Annapurna Marathon is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Taking place in October, this brutal 42 kilometre race goes from 1,200 metres right up to an altitude of 3,750 metres in a gruelling 20 kilometres of solid incline. But this is only half the battle. After a tough ascent comes a twisting and technical descent through the jungle towards the finish line.
But don’t worry, bonkers as she is, Ms Smith is not taking on this behemoth alone. She’s successfully badgered nine other nutters into joining her on this once-in-a-lifetime journey with Primal Adventures. Many of these are Eastern Suburbs locals including Kylie Smith, local estate agent Marnie Senior and Rozanne Green, who is taking on this challenge to celebrate her 60th birthday.
Other team members include Chair of the Running For Premature Babies Foundation Stuart Cassie and Director Colman O’Driscoll, who also happens to be the father of Rory, who was born weighing only 685 grams and survived with the help of life saving equipment donated by the charity. And if that wasn’t enough of a dream-team, Ms Smith also managed to rope in none other than cave diving hero Craig Challen after meeting him at the Australian of the Year awards.
“I asked Craig at 2am on Australia Day, after a few drinks, if he’d like to come to Nepal with me to run this marathon,” Ms Smith told The Beast.
“He told me he’d never run a marathon but he loved mountains. I took that as a ‘yes’ and basically kept emailing him until he ran out of excuses for why not to do it! In his Australian of the Year acceptance speech he encouraged people to push themselves and not take ‘the easy route’ but instead see what they are capable of. That’s what I’ll be doing in Nepal and I’m so excited that one of our greatest Australian heroes is coming too.”
If you’d like to complete a spectacular challenge alongside some truly inspirational humans, you’re in luck. There are six spaces left and Sophie would love to have you on board. It may very well take you right to the edge of your (dis)comfort zone and take every ounce of energy you could possibly possess, but just imagine the views… and bragging rights!
For more information about the Annapurna Marathon, visit www.runningforprematurebabies.com/event/annapurna-marathon-nepal.