We chat with Susie Chan about her upcoming trip to Malawi and what it means to be hosting The Orbis Trail Challenge...

Apply to join Susie's team here.

The Orbis Trail Challenge- Sport with a Purpose, very exciting to have you on board! What first attracted you to take on this challenge for 2020?

Well firstly having learned about the work Orbis do, it was really interesting to hear about an event that has great running, but also helps local initiatives. The format of the race is appealing too, one day’s running and one days active recovery exploring and visiting local projects.

Then I was following Kelly Holmes trip and it looked fantastic! I cant wait to explore and run the trails.

 beautiful mulanje trails pics

Tell us a little bit more about who you want on your team for this incredible expedition and the level of fitness required?

Anyone! That’s the beauty of the running community – it’s so welcoming. Team runners would be good, the point of the event is not a race, it’s about the experience, enjoying the trails and sharing the journey with others. Fitness will be required as running trails can be very different to running on the roads… but no one will get left behind!  

Is there one event on The Orbis Trail Challenge that you are particularly looking forward to? Or perhaps more apprehensive about!?

I’m not apprehensive about anything at all. This is just the sort of thing I enjoy! The mix of running routes, one mountainous, one forest, and one flat trail are right up my street. I’m looking forward to taking part in local Sports and also seeing Lake Malawi. It looks stunning!

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Running through the communities in Malawi can be very eye opening and we try and get you to see behind the scenes of Africa- have you ever done anything similar?

Yes I have run Sierra Leone Marathon which had similar community visits as part of the trip. I’ve also run through the Sahara a few times, with the local Berbers assisting in the logistics and putting up the tents to sleep in.

Sport with a Purpose is about creating a sporting challenge and embedding a purpose and cause at the heart of it. Tell us more about the ‘purpose’ behind your expedition in Malawi? 

In the last 30 years Malawi has lost over 85% of it’s trees. This is an awful statistic – a local based charity called TREEZ will be supported by this event – as it aims to raise awareness and funds to support reforestation and environmental education. The route of the event will run through some of the affected areas – so people signing up will really get an understanding of the purpose, 

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Trail Running's your thing Susie- what is it about the trails that makes you tingle?

Who doesn’t like running in trails? It’s all about the views, and the challenge too! I am lucky enough to have some great trails were I live, and there is something special about running through trees, along ridges and through the landscape. What better way to explore!

Susie Chan


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