From Emilie Walsh, the first runner to arrive for the
I get the impression that nothing is text book and doesn't
happen the same way twice but this is my experience of the
surprisingly un-turbulent arrival in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Landed on the tarmac with the inevitable clapping for the
captain, which is always reassuring. The humidity then hits! Herded
onto a bus and then driven 30 metres!
Enter the one room airport, hustled into queues to get your
passport and visas checked by a stern guard, shuffle through the
queue to get to baggage area - where you may get your yellow fever
cert checked by a man in a white coat if he feels like it, another
passport check and then await the baggage (stand where the baggage
is going back out - there is a fan which aids the initial
acclimatisation!). There are trolleys available, make sure you have
your baggage tag - because they do check you are leaving with your
Then, the hustle and bustle of the guys trying to help you on
your way. The subsequent bit of the journey went smoothly because I
had Ben, our marathon director, on my flight. If you have the
runners package, you will also have an aide - someone meeting you
at the airport and helping you get tickets for the ferry/ water
taxi ride. I took a water taxi, from Lungi to Aberdeen, it cost
about £30, which includes a short mini bus trip to a beach where
you wait for the Pelican boat, note - your luggage will probably
get taken on a different bus but again you get luggage tags, which
are checked at the other end, so no worries.
Then embarking the Pelican - my sea legs were put to good use in
order to manage the pontoon made up of floating empty water
barrels, embarked, donned a lifejacket and sped through the sunset
to Aberdeen. At the port, we were met by Nick, the marathon
Event Director and Mark, a volunteer working on the marathon.
Driven through the streets and traffic of Freetown and taken to the
British High Commission where I have made the most of running
water, a/c and showers....