It has been around 15 months since I left Sierra Leone and that was 15 months too long.
I left after the Marathon in May last year and obviously due to the Ebola crisis it became difficult to return, but I’m certainly glad to be back here now.
My early morning run in Makeni soon reminded me why I love this place and why the Marathon here is so amazing. Only minutes into my run I was cheered by locals and a chorus of “Oporto” began to ring out, with excited children high fiving and running along behind me.
Even at 7am some of the top-up stalls were blasting out African tunes, so I just had to stop and show off my dance moves to the kids. This led to a fair bit of laughter plus the odd praise of “fine moves”.
As it is the middle of rainy season, the ground is fairly soft following a night of heavy downpour and there are a fair few puddles to avoid, but this just adds more to the adventure, a bit like trail running.
Some of you may still be worried about Ebola and the situation it has caused. Of course Ebola has terribly affected so many people here, and the country is still not classed as ‘Ebola free’, but everyone is taking strong measures to make sure this is the end of the outbreak.
Now Sierra Leoneans just need something to look forward to and to celebrate. This is what makes the Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon so important this year, not just to the town of Makeni but to the whole country.
So come along and be a part of it, see what a difference the marathon makes and help us to celebrate this beautiful country.