A doctor has called her recovery from open heart surgery “very, very tough” after she completed a charity run and swim to help build a health clinic in Uganda.

Kate Smith said she had to put her sporting hobbies on hold for months after being told she needed the surgery in April last year.

Now, the 38-year-old GP has run a half marathon and swam over 2.5km in a gruelling four-hour fundraising effort.

Kate, who lives in central Brighton, said: “Up until now I hadn’t thought that I could trust my body enough to train for something like this but now I’m feeling stronger.

The Argus: Kate completing a leg of her swim in OvingdeanKate completing a leg of her swim in Ovingdean (Image: Jamie Smith)

“I’ve steadily recovered from it but it was very, very tough.

“I wanted to challenge myself and get back into my sporting hobbies.

“Running up over the downs was tough but all the views kept me going, the last stretch my calves were like lead.”

Kate, originally from Manchester, completed the run and swim after weaving her way across East Sussex from Lewes to Hove Lagoon.

Having started at Pell’s Pool early this morning, she ran 25km across the South Downs to Saltdean and then on to Ovingdean, Sea Lanes in Brighton and finally Hove Lagoon. Kate also completed a 500m swim at each location.


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She was supported by her teacher husband Jamie and a group of family friends who cheered her on to the finish line.

Kate said this was not her first running and swimming event having completed similar challenges in London and Germany in the past.

The Argus: Kate running through the South DownsKate running through the South Downs (Image: Jamie Smith)

Having picked up sea swimming while at university, she also previously completed a “sea marathon”, a 10km sea swim, while living and working in New Zealand.

The run and swim were designed to replicate the current trek people living in Kabale in Uganda must do to get treatment.

Currently those needing treatment must get a canoe across a lake before a four-mile trek to the nearest health facilities.

Kate’s run and swim raised over £700 for the Good Shepherd Network, a charity set up by her grandfather which is helping to build a new health facility in Uganda.