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Our race SUPERSTAR!

She’s smart, ready for fun and amped for the SPAR Women’s Challenge. Meet our Face of the Race winner, graphic designer and super mom, Sarah Ayres!

1. HOW DID IT ALL START?
We have a very active German short-haired pointer, which needs plenty of exercise … I started off by going for walks with him, and eventually I started running. Within a few months, I’d fallen in love with the sport. Once you get past the initial shock of a change in your routine, the new routine feeds your soul. Plus, the endorphins I get from running improve my mood and keep me focused. I also started a WhatsApp group to encourage other young mothers to get out and about. Initially, it was just a couple of other moms from the school, but the group has grown and we now have 50 members. We exchange tips and encourage each other to keep going. They are not all young mothers – we are available for anyone who is just starting to get regular exercise.

2. HAVE YOU DONE THE SPAR WOMEN’S RACE BEFORE?
Nope, this will be my first year and I’m excited to make it an annual event on my race calendar! My dad will run with me, and my mom is going to walk the 5km Fun Run. Quite a few of my friends will also be taking part.

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3. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY …
I am married and we have two children, a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. We both run small businesses from home so we’re privileged to be able to spend a lot of time together and with our children.

4. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE SMOOTHIE RECIPE FOR ENERGY?
Banana must be in whatever smoothie you make! I love mixing bananas, strawberries and other berries, and even adding in some pawpaw and pineapple.

5. WHAT’S THE BEST MEAL TO HAVE FOR DINNER BEFORE A RACE?
I’m a fan of carbo-loading before a race and like to have pasta or pizza (gluten-free of course!) the night before a race or a long run.

6. HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY ON RACE DAY?
I know that I can run a certain distance in training so I just tell myself that I can run a race (normally further than my training distances) easily because the only thing that’s changing is that I have more time on race day.

7. WHAT OTHER FORMS OF TRAINING DO YOU ENJOY?
I enjoy walking or hiking with my family and our dogs, and I like to counter the intensity of running with a calming stretch routine mixed with Pilates and Yoga.

8. YOUR BEST-KEPT HEALTH SECRET?
I eat three cooked meals and at least three snacks a day! I love food and try to keep it as healthy as possible to fuel my body without needing supplements.

I like to sing  along to music
I know the lyrics of – it helps to steady my breathing and pushes me along. My favourite is Radioactive by Imagine Dragons –
it get me  up hills.

9. HOW OFTEN DO YOU RUN?
At present, I run three to four kilometres three times a week.

10. FAVE ACTIVE WEAR?
I can’t do without my trail shoes; the stability they provide makes my run a breeze.

11. HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU?
I am a strict perfectionist with a strong moral compass and a sense of justice. I love to help others and motivate them through a positive lifestyle and an open, unjudgmental countenance. My family is my centre and my motivation.

12. WHAT REALITY TV SHOW WOULD YOU TRY?
I’m quite a fan of Survivor South Africa and keep thinking about how I would have handled a certain situation or how I would cope with the challenges and the cunning that the game requires. Also, the lack of food!

13. WHAT ARE THE LAST FOUR ITEMS YOU BOUGHT?
All food items: milk, fruit, veggies, and yoghurt.

14. WHAT IS THE MOST ADVENTUROUS THING YOU’VE DONE AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU STILL WANT TO DO?

I jumped off a 10m high rock into a clear rock pool on a hike in the Wolweberg. I still want to go somewhere completely different from home – like Norway! There are some incredible hot springs on a glacier in Iceland that look like they need exploring too …

15. ATHLETE YOU LOOK UP TO?
Not famous … but my mom! She took up exercise after my sisters and I were already in school (about the same age I am now) and she hasn’t stopped since. She’s now 60 and she still mountain-bikes a distance of about 30km almost every day. She’s strong and determined and unchangeable.

16. HOW IMPORTANT IS WINNING?
Winning is about 5 per cent of anything I do. Being able to compete at a certain level means you’re already good enough, the rest is up to chance and/or vote, which are factors outside of your control. I do things for me first and with my family in mind. If I am good enough to win, that’s just incredible!

17. YOUR BIGGEST RACE TO DATE?
My first fun run was a 5km charity run for Slipper Day at a park near where I live. Since then I’ve taken part in only one other event – a 4km fun run on Women’s Day, organised by Families South Africa.

Photographer: PETER WHITFIELD. Makeup: GOSH COSMETICS. Hair: PELAGIE. Clothing: ALCHEMY HYDE PARK.

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