Neesha's marathon journey
Neesha Sihra, our Executive Assistant for Volunteer Support and Finance, is taking on the London Marathon for SSAFA in April. The money she raises will be going towards helping us continue our much-needed work supporting the Forces and their families.
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"So before I start a small bit about myself, I have been a SSAFA employee for the last six months in the role of Executive Assistant Volunteer Operations and Finance. Prior to joining SSAFA I worked as a member of police staff for the Metropolitan Police Service. During my eight years with the MPS I had varying roles from HR and Child Protection to Royalty Protection, all of which were very enjoyable.
As a keen runner for the last eight or so years the London marathon has very much been an event on my radar for quite sometime. I have made numerous and unsuccessful applications via the ballot system, but for anyone that has tried in the past you will understand the sheer popularity of the event and hence the disappointment for thousands of applicants every year.
Shortly after joining SSAFA I was made aware of major fundraising events that anyone can apply to participate in – the London marathon being one of them. After so many unsuccessful attempts and now working for a charity it made perfect sense to apply for a SSAFA charity place. So without further ado I completed my application via the SSAFA website – just like any member of the public wishing to run for SSAFA. I was given no preferential treatment for being a member of staff. And then it was the waiting game…
October came (results time) only for me to receive an email informing me I had been unsuccessful in my application. As with previous years, I was hugely disappointed but could only hope to have better luck next year. A month passed following the marathon place results and to be honest it had completely left my mind. I mean why else would I be thinking about the marathon if I wasn’t to be running it? Well my luck was in and due to another runner no longer being able to participate, their space was offered to me.
Initially I couldn’t actually believe it, after so many years of applying and in a way preparing myself each year that it was unlikely I would get a space, there I was being offered just what I had been hoping for. Once I had got my head around the idea it was time to start thinking about training and fundraising."