Tribute to Suzanne Benyon, nee Owen: 1979-2006

Suzanne Benyon was a brilliant athlete who won many track, road and cross country races and competed regularly for Scotland at a wide range of distances and disciplines. 

Suzanne ran for City of Stoke AC from 1997 to 2003. During this time she competed mainly on the track over 800m to 5000m, achieving national rankings in every distance. She was North Staffs Cross Country champion in 1999. 

Suzanne also competed for Staffordshire University from 2000-2002, achieving silver medals both indoors and outdoors at the BUSA championships over 3000m and 5000m respectively. In early 2003 Suzanne became Scottish Indoor 3000m champion and Birmingham Indoor Games 3000m Champion. 

After 2003 Suzanne moved on to City of Glasgow to increase her opportunities for competing for Scotland, which she did on many occasions on track, road and cross-country.

Suzanne was a fantastic team athlete, often competing over different distances at the same meeting for City of Stoke, memorably achieving two personal bests in one day over 800m (2:12) and 1500m (4:26). Her best for 3000m was also a club record 9:26. 

This commitment was to be a constant factor during her athletics career, competing in two events at every fixture during City of Glasgow's successful 2006 promotion campaign from Division 2 to Division 1 of the UK Women's league.

From 1997 until this year Suzanne was coached by former National Endurance coach Harry Harvey. Suzanne and Harry had a very strong coach/athlete relationship, becoming close friends. Virtually every week on a Tuesday and Thursday night come rain or shine, you would see her running around the Northwood athletics track in Stoke with Harry on the sidelines encouraging her on. 

During this time Suzanne had many different training partners of the highest quality, male and female, and all knew that training with Suzanne would mean a (very) hard session! However, even though Suzanne had a fiercely competitive streak when running, she was never short of encouragement for her fellow athletes, and would make any new arrivals immediately feel welcome and a part of the group.

Suzanne was a committed vegan, meaning that she did not eat any animal product (meat, dairy or eggs). She wanted to show that animal produce was unnecessary even when competing at international level. She proved this by becoming Scottish 5000m Champion in August 2006, as well as winning the West District of Scotland XC title in 2005. Suzanne continued to improve and achieved a 5000m personal best of 16:50 at a Solihull British Milers Club meeting this summer. 

Suzanne finishes 4th in the Scottish National Cross Country 2005

Suzanne and City of Glasgow team-mates win bronze medals at the 2005 National Road relays

Suzanne and Tofu - September 2006

It is testament to Suzanne's popularity that more than 300 mourners, family, friends, colleagues and competitors alike stood side by side at Bradwell Crematorium on 7th November 2006 to pay tribute to a very special person.

Suzanne's husband Peter, Mum and Dad Sandra and Dave, and brother Stewart would like to offer a sincere thank you to all who showed how much Suzanne meant, and means to them.

Suzanne will always be remembered for her tremendous smile and endless enthusiasm. She will continue to be an inspiration as an athlete and as a person to everybody who knew her.

Whenever you are on the limit and you ask yourself whether you can carry on, remember Suzanne's, personality, determination and never give up attitude, and she will carry you through...

Peter Benyon & John Danahay - November 2006