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Sierra Leone Marathon 2014

The Making of the Marathon

 

After my 5 day holiday on the beautiful peninsula beached, including a sejour in Tribe Wanted at Jon Obey, I was well rested and ready to get the painfully anticipated miles under my belt.

 

The Marathon runners are in Makeni! The centre received a selection of runners who played and entertained the Street Child beneficiaries with Karate lessons, footie, arts and crafts, slack-lining and kiddie tennis, while others visited projects in and around, including schools and centres in Bambuna, Magburaka, Tambakha and Masymra. This gave people a chance to really see and take part in the projects and instrumental work that they were fundraising for.

 

   MAkeni Centre - Arts And Crats 2

 

The Friday before the race involved a good 10 hour slog trying to get things set up, directed by Ben and his various underlings, including his 2 siblings. We got on with the task of preparing the finishing area and the water station requirements. Interrupted by the worst rain storm I had seen in 3 weeks, we managed to assign approximately 6000 bags of water, 18 water stations, 40 sponsorship banners, reams of red and white tape, medical supplies and much more - with the help of local children. By late evening, we managed to get ourselves a carb loading feed, and a relatively early night in preparation for the next day's excitement.

 

Alarm went off at 4.30 am, getting ready for a half marathon in the dark is interesting. Early morning breakfast of Adema's rice and banana cake plus a high 5 drink.  The anticipation of the race had been long awaited, and as expected it went by like a blur, a dream, an amalgam of emotions, sights and sounds. So what happened when 386 runners ran through the streets of Makeni and the nearby villages, an area that sees virtually no tourism and never in its history had so many Aportos descend on it: the children were gob smacked; the people didn't know what to say or do, excited, dumfounded and happy; little hands offered high fives along the way and children ran along beside. A lasting impression that I got was that the locals did not know what to do, have they ever had such an event to react to, unlikely. In the years to come, should the challenge be taken on again, the population will understand what it is to be excited and take part even more, cheering, helping, running. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of something so original and epic. Everything seemed to go smoothly, so, all the time, sweat and tears paid off, little was left to chance which is testimony to all the hard work that went into the organisation of the race.

 

Thank you to everyone that made it the day that it was, it will remain in my memory as one of the greatest, hottest and fun days of my life, following three very inspirational and insightful weeks in Sierra Leone.

 

   SAM_0276

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