Marc Mowbray-d’Arbela admits it was a “crazy idea” to attempt to run a marathon for the first time this year but it was the belief from his fellow Woden Valley Committee member and now running coach Shiree Yap that made it possible.
“People who know me said that I walk when I play football so they laughed at the idea that I could run a marathon,” Marc recalled.
“But thanks to Shiree’s trainings over summer, I was running faster and playing football better than I have for decades. A lot of it comes down to Shiree’s belief in me and encouraging me to take the challenge on.
“That story really demonstrates the kind of person Shiree is.”
Balancing work as a personal trainer by day and club administrator by night, Shiree has been assisting Woden Valley Soccer Club since her kids joined the club nearly two decades ago.
“The first of my four kids started playing at Woden Valley 19 years ago so I decided to volunteer,” Shiree shared. “It’s been a long time.”
She is now helping guide more than 1,400 registered participants through one of the toughest challenges the club has experienced.
“It is challenging and uncertain for everybody but we are doing what we can,” Shiree said. “Heading into the Junior season would normally be our busiest time of the year, so we nearly had it already organised.
“There are a lot of parents who are wondering what the process is, and our biggest challenge is not having the answers for people because the situation is unclear.
“We have been trying to find ways to let people feel a bit more comfortable and we are doing what we can. Everyone at every club across the ACT and Australia is doing what they can.”
Despite the testing times and decades of service, Shiree said she doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon.
“It is amazing how many people on our committee have been part of the club forever, even longer than me,” she said. “There is a massive devotion and beautiful loyalty to the club.
“I know the club so well and I really enjoy the people that I work with, so it is a natural thing for me to hang around and keep it going.”
In Marc’s own words, “Shiree is the glue that keeps the club together”.
“She is a big reason why our club runs so well, in my view,” he said. “She is so empathetic and everyone is a massive fan of hers. There have been times where she has had to deal with really prickly situations and internal pressure and yet she is unflappable and has been incredible to work with.
“I have never come across anyone like her.”
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