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Good luck to Team SIA!

With less than 24 hours to go, we wanted to introduce you to some of our amazing 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon team, who have spent months (and in some cases years) putting in countless hours of hard work, effort and training to make it to the big day!

They are on track to raise well over £30,000 to support our work, and we could not be prouder!

So without further ado, please meet Team SIA for this year’s addition of the world’s most popular marathon:

Olly Aldridge
Olly had a place with Team SIA in the 2018 London Marathon, but sadly had to withdraw through injury (two weeks before the big day). However he is back with a vengeance in 2019, and raring to go. Olly chose to run for SIA as he sustained a spinal injury himself whilst playing rugby, and although he has now made a full recovery, he realized just how close he came to sustaining a spinal cord injury – with permanent effects.

Olly is aiming to be one of our quickest runners on the day (with a predicted time of 3 hours and 28 minutes he is a real speedster), so wish him luck, and hopefully we will see him flying around the course!

Team ROKiT Williams Racing
Our charity partners ROKiT Williams Racing are always up for a challenge, and this year is no different! To kick off another amazing year of our partnership, three of their bravest employees are taking on the 2019 London Marathon, helping SIA to raise vital funds to support our services for SCI people and strengthening our relationship with the RoKiT Williams Racing Team.

As well as hosting plenty of bake sales and a huge raffle at their staff wellbeing day recently, they have all been posting religiously on social media to highlight their challenge and raise awareness of spinal cord injury and the work of SIA..

On top of that, the team have also been spotted fashioning our limited edition race jackets, also kindly sponsored by Williams Racing, at F1 tracks as far away as Bahrain and Beijing.

The guys are hoping to raise over £5000 and are “on track” to smash that total so far.  We wish them the very best of luck come race day!

Shaun Blake
Shaun started off 2019 with a very ambitious pledge: to try and raise over £4000 for SIA by taking on the London Marathon.

With plenty of support from his colleauges at our platinum members Slater + Gordon he came up with plenty of ways to get them involved, holding small fundraisers in the office, whilst also planning a comedy night for the week after the race, at one of London’s top comedy venues. He will definitely be putting a smile on plenty of people’s faces, including everyone at SIA!

If that wasn’t enough, Shaun has also pledged to take part in our summer skydiving day.  This will be a totally different type of physical challenge, and will find him going just a bit faster than in the marathon!

Thank you Shaun, it has been a pleasure getting to know you, and you will be making a huge difference to our work.   And thank you to Slater + Gordon, for helping us to find Shaun, and getting him ready to race!

Find out more about Shaun’s efforts

Verity Murray
Our youngest 2019 London Marathon runner at just 23, Verity, set herself an incredible challenge by aiming to raise over £4000 for SIA this year  – she has done a truly amazing job so far and is fast approaching her goal!

Verity has shown in incredible commitment to TeamSIA, fitting training sessions in around her work for our partner organization SIA Case Management. With their help she has managed to host raffles, a bake sale and much more at her offices, helping raise awareness about what we do and also giving people the chance to win some absolutely fantastic prizes)!

As well as helping with her fundraising efforts from day one, Verity’s colleagues at SIA Case Management also collectively raised £500 in sponsorship towards her efforts.  To Verity, and all the people who have supported her, we want to say another thank you, and we are incredibly proud to have you as part of the team!

Good luck Verity, and we look forward to seeing you on the day!

Simon Williams
One of the most inspiring stories from Team SIA this year, SIA member, Simon is taking part in the London Marathon four years after sustaining a C3-C5 incomplete spinal cord injury, as a result of a collision with a bus whilst cycling home from work one night.

With a lot of support during his recovery combined witha great deal of effort and determination Simon managed the slow and arduous task of learning to walk again…before finally learning to run again!

Simon still has some lasting side effects from sustaining his SCI, including poor balance and limited sensation from the chest down, meaning that the London Marathon is going to be a massive challenge for him, even more so than most.

But Simon is dead set on finishing, and has already run himself out of one pair of trainers in training!  He is all set to make some memories to last a lifetime come race day.

And to add to the amazing achievements he has managed so far, Simon has almost doubled the fundraising target he set, with the confidence that plenty more will be coming in on race day!

Read more about Simon’s Journey on his justgiving page

Felicity Bull
So far Felicity has managed to raise over £1700 to support SIA – read her story in her own words below:

“This year i will be running my first London marathon and for a truly wonderful cause – SIA, Spinal Injuries Association. Although i have a great love of running, my ability to do it, has been claimed by my mother to be her influence (nice try), is actually and far more probably from my grandfather, a great cross country runner himself. So it is truly fitting that I am running in memory of him.

My grandfather was involved in a car accident leaving him paralysed from the waist down at the young age of 26. He had two young children ages 1 & 2 and life became increasingly more challenging. Through adversity he became the longest surviving paraplegic of his day, and luckily I got to meet him. The impact on the whole family life has left them all to be the strongest people I know, but it wasn’t without its struggles and low points. Through determination to survive and adjust to a new life it made them who they are today.”

With the support of SIA people with spinal injuries don’t have to go through the struggle alone, they provide support and education to those affected, helping them to rebuild and fulfil their lives.

Visit Felicity’s page and wish her luck

Ryan Montgomery
As one of two SCI wheelchair users taking part in the 2019 race for SIA, Ryan really is completing a remarkable feat! People often remark when it comes to marathons that your legs arent built to run 26.2 miles, and the only thing you can say with certainty is that your arms DEFINITELY aren’t built to push that kind of distance, particularly when doing so in a day chair, like Ryan is committing to in this year’s London Marathon.

As an SIA member, Ryan has seen first-hand what it is like to receive our support, and we are thrilled that he chose to give something back by taking on a challenge with us – and if you are going for a challenge, you might as well make it the toughest one out there.

Ryan sustained his injury back in 2015.  Only 17 at the time, he admitted that hearing that he would never walk again was one of the toughest days of his life:

“I spent 6 months in rehab adapting to my new life and continue to adapt more than 13 years on. Without the support of the Spinal Injuries Association back when I was at the spinal unit and in the years since my recovery would have been much harder. Their support in the early months in particular helped me realise I could still live a normal life”.

Ryan has pushed himself harder than most in the lead up to the race, but we know it is definitely going to pay off come race day. He even received some tips from our resident marathon expert (our Campaigns Manager Dave Bracher), who is confident that Ryan is going to absolutely smash the course, and admitted that he has never known anyone be better prepared for their first marathon!

Thank you Ryan, you have done an absolutely awesome job, and we look forward to celebrating with you on Sunday.

Visit Ryan’s page and leave him a message of support

We also want to wish the best of luck to all our other runners taking part tomorrow, including Suzanne Sharp, Shaun Birch, Nick Seddon, Darren Critcher and our very own ambassador Josh Landmann.

Good luck everyone, and we will look forward to seeing you there!