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Sierra Leone Marathon 2014

70 runners arrive in Sierra Leone for the country's first ever marathon

  • Posted at 19:23
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  • - More than 300 participants prepare for Race Day

 

Seventy runners flew in from the UK last night to take part in the Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon, the first event of its kind ever to be held in Sierra Leone.

 

With 15 more runners set to arrive before race day and with a recent surge in local interest, a total field of more than 300 participants are preparing to cross the start line on 9 June in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone.

 

All of the international runners have been busy raising money for the Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon's official charity partner, Street Child of Sierra Leone. The charity hopes to help 500 boys and 500 girls off the street, establish 50 schools throughout the country, and help more than 5,000 children gain access to education through funds raised from this landmark occasion.

 

Before the race on Saturday, participants will have the opportunity to visit the projects on which the funds that they have raised will be spent. Having had the chance to interact directly with the children that will benefit and the staff that will implement the work that they are running in support of, it is set to be an incredibly emotional day for the runners that have already invested so much into this unique event.

 

Runner Rebecca Newsom from London, who arrived earlier in the week, commented: "I couldn't say no to the chance of taking part in Sierra Leone's first marathon. But seeing the incredible impact of Street Child of Sierra Leone's work on the ground has already made the whole trip so much more meaningful.

 

"Visiting [the Chiefdom of] Tambakha in the north, hearing first-hand how much the community values education and the crucial role Street Child is playing to make this possible was so moving. This is my first marathon but such inspiration will definitely help me cross the finish line."

 

Tom Dannatt, Street Child of Sierra Leone's founder, added: "Our charity is dedicated to helping some of the most vulnerable children in the world gain access to education and, for those that require it, helping to provide a safe, secure place to live away from a life on the streets. I was very proud to be on the flight with so many new supporters of our charity, all of whom have been hard at work to raise money for the children we are working with.

 

"All of our participants are not only committed to enduring the unique challenge that this kind of marathon will present, but also to learning more about child development in Sierra Leone. I am incredibly grateful for their support and that of all of the corporate sponsors who have helped to make this marathon possible - not least of all title sponsor the Kiln Group. Their efforts will go a long way towards helping Street Child offer assistance to thousands of children in 2012"

 

The marathon has been made possible by the kind support of a number of corporate sponsors, all of which have also contributed towards the event through donations and fund-raising. The Kiln Group has already contributed close to £100,000 and others, including Gold Sponsor and leading independent investment dealer, GMP Securities, Tokio Marine, Lloyd & Partners, Miller and Joule Africa, have amassed close to £50,000.

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