South London woman embarks on marathon challenge for SSAFA

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19 April 2024

Jackie Smith is set to run eight more marathons by 2026. The first is the London Marathon this Sunday (April 21) and she will be raising funds for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. 

Jackie is no stranger to long-distance running; she has been running marathons for over 20 years, and in fact the London Marathon this Sunday will be Jackie’s 50th all-time. It will be the first of eight she plans to run by 2026, as part of a new challenge based around her career.

“At work we are building eight Type 26 Frigates for the Royal Navy. They will be named after eight major cities in the UK. I am planning to run a marathon in each of the eight cities by 2026 (when we will hand over the first ship HMS Glasgow to the Navy).”

Jackie works for BAE Systems and oversees the Combat Systems equipment found on Royal Navy ships, such as weapons, sonars, radars, and communications equipment. Jackie is not former Navy herself but many of her friends and colleagues are, which is where she heard about SSAFA and chose them as her charity to fundraise for.

Jackie said this about choosing SSAFA: “My work colleagues and personal friends have been supported by SSAFA, most recently a friend of mine who was dealing with an illness. With my upcoming challenge it seems appropriate to raise vital funds to support serving men and women, veterans and families who will call on SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity for help in time of need.”

Work and training keep Jackie quite busy, but she enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two teenagers, as well as walking her two dogs. Unfortunately they will not be joining her for the marathon challenge. After London, Jackie’s next marathon will be in Edinburgh on 6 July.

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