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Sierra Leone Marathon 2014

First runner arrives in Freetown!

From Emilie Walsh, the first runner to arrive for the marathon!

 

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 own.

 

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....

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