- - More than 300 participants prepare for Race
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
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
"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.
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.