International Women's Day - inspiring runner inspiring others
"If you put your mind to it - you can achieve anything."
The inspirational words of Victoria Smith, from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, who has chosen to run this year's London Marathon to raise money for and awareness of Parkinson's disease.
Today, as it's International Women's Day (08/03), Victoria says it's a timely reminder as to why she is doing this: "I'm doing it for my lovely dad who has had Parkinson's for the past 16 years but also to inspire both my young daughters Verity (6) and Lois (4) that you can do anything in life if you're determined enough. What better message for International Women's Day."
Victoria, who is Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Police and Crime Commissioner based at Devizes Police HQ, admits her busy job is quite sedentary: "When you're sitting down all day you need to run but I'm not a natural runner. I'm not in my comfort zone but I'm doing it.
"By following the Virgin London Marathon Training Plan I've built up over the past ten weeks and am about to run 16 miles this weekend. That's amazing for me because before I started training I couldn't have run for more than half an hour - about three miles. Now I've broken the half-way mark, I'm running more than 13 miles without stopping.
"I've also cracked the long, steep Caen Hill locks in Devizes - I managed to run up it the other day. I couldn't have done that a few weeks ago."
The mum of two, who lives in Devizes, recognises that by being surrounding by people she's inspired by and who she wants to inspire does help.
She said: "My wonderful Godmother passed away suddenly last year and it gave me the motivation that you really do only live once.
"If Mezzer D - as she was fondly known - can walk around London in her bra, then I can attempt to jog some of the way. I also know that in those tough times I'll hear her voice spurring me on.
"My dad is surrounded by granddaughters - he doesn't have any grandsons - so on International Women's Day what better message than this: I'm helping my dad and hopefully inspiring his granddaughters at the same time."
Victoria is raising money for Parkinson's UK via her JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Victoria-Smith111
Published on Friday 8 March 2019.