A series of interviews "Meet the Runners" by Debra Agong
Suzan Garcia is well known to many on the local racing circuit owing to her role as supporter of and participant in track and road running events, as well as her role as an Official and active member of the National Amateur Athletics Association (NAAA). As one of the longest serving members of the Trinidad and Tobago Road Runners Club, Suzan has been around to see the changing faces of TTRRC. While some have chosen to move on or move out, Suzan continues to take an active role in the club’s affairs.
Now in her forties, she no longer possesses the speed she once had, however, she is proud of the fact that she is able still to compete with women half her age, particularly at the 5km distance. Despite her ability to challenge younger runners, she admits that opportunities to stand on the winner’s podium are now more plentiful in events where she competes against women of her age where she is clearly above average.
As a member of the World Masters Organisation, an international sporting body for athletes over the age of 35 years old, she has travelled abroad as a representative of Trinidad and Tobago. Thus far, she has been to Guatemala where she placed 2nd in the cross country 8K, 1st in the 100m , 1st in the 400m and 2nd in the 1500m and uses these results as motivation to keep training. Running is only one part of her overall fitness regime; she enjoys also netball, dancing and aerobics and strongly believes that an active lifestyle, especially when started in one’s youth, is the key to prolonged good health and a younger appearance.
Suzan is a loyal member of TTRRC and intends to stick around for as long as the club exists. She especially enjoys the diversity of the membership and the true family atmosphere that exists. According to Suzan “ as long as you value and appreciate the differences in people, love to laugh and have fun and enjoy being fit, you definitely will fit in
Learn more about Suzan below:
- When did you start running?
At age 9 in Primary School
- Who or what prompted you to start?
My father and school teacher saw me run one day and it started from then.
- How have you benefited from running?
Apart from being fit and healthy, it is fulfilling a passion. You have to love it; that is a must
- What is your favourite race distance?
800m, 1500m and 5K
- What was the time of your first marathon?
4:06 without proper training, I don't run marathons anymore because I hate the pain. I prefer shorter distances
- What is your favourite training workout?
I like drills. It's a workout that is done by mostly by track runners.
- What is your favourite local race to run and why?
Scotia Bank Women Against Breast Cancer 5k because it's very competitive
- What is your most memorable race experience?
800m at Palo Seco where I had the whole stadium on their feet. They wanted to know who I was.
- In your opinion, are there any side effects to running?
Just a little cramp sometimes and loss of toe nails but so what. LOL
- What do you enjoy most about being a member of TTRRC?
I love the pecong, LOL. I love the togetherness that the members share. Anytime I'm around, I see people having fun, they are happy and there is lots of laughter. We give each other a lot of encouragement and advice too.
- Do you believe group running is better than running alone or vice versa? Why?
Most times, I think its good, but it has its ups and downs. You may run with a group that is running at your pace and if you fall off that pace they would encourage you to finish. Doing that extra that you felt you could not do could make you a stronger runner. Sometimes you just feel like running alone.
- What do you think is the most common mistake made by runners in training and/or in racing?
Most runners over- train. They train too hard and too often and when it's time to perform, it's impossible because they're tired.
- Would you advise other women to take up the sport? In your opinion, are there any special benefits to women who run?
Yes, because your body becomes toned. Look how good I look. LOL.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?
Well, firstly, you have to love what you do. Second, I always say make sure to wear proper shoes and third, take it slow sometimes, there's no rush. Try not to get discouraged at all.
- What are your future goals in the sport?
To share my knowledge and understanding with new runners and youths.