On 29th May 2016 over 100 international runners travelled to Makeni, Sierra Leone for the fifth Sierra Leone Marathon. This year’s marathon was arguably the most important yet as it was the first since the country was declared Ebola-free. What’s more, all funds raised for the Sierra Leone Marathon went towards the Girls Speak Out appeal supporting more than 20,000 vulnerable children can go to school and receive a quality education.
In recognition of the amazing fundraising efforts of our 2016 runners, awards for the top fundraiser, a fundraising hero and the top fundraising team were given out at our annual Street Child Summer Ball on the 25th June 2016.
The Sierra Leone Marathon 2016 was Charlotte Evans’ first ever marathon and she raised a fantastic £6870 making her this year’s top fundraiser. She told us how she did it:
“I was a bit nervous asking people for sponsorship so I decided to organise a gig and arranged for 11 acts to perform on the night. It was a huge success and it had a great turnout as so many people wanted to come and support their friends singing. I raised £4.5k from selling tickets and doing a raffle. It’s actually a pretty easy model to replicate so I would recommend it. I discovered that if you take on a challenge like running a marathon in a country like Sierra Leone, and for such a fantastic cause, people are extremely willing to sponsor you. I was really amazed with the support my friends, family and colleagues gave me and how generous people can be.”
Abigail Watling was part of the Tokio Marine Kiln team who won Top Fundraising Team.
"I've actually found it really hard to put into words how amazing the experience was to my family and friends. I will forever remember the Sierra Leone marathon not only as it was my first marathon but because of the incredible people you meet and places you visit. I really don't think I will beat this running experience, although I would definitely do it again! Fundraising can be really tough at times and you feel like you’re not getting to the next milestone quick enough. I think the more knowledge people have about Street Child and its projects, the more donations we were given. Making people feel engaged and involved was the key to our group’s fundraising. So happy we won the award!"
This year’s fundraising hero was Florian Weimert who raised £3,077 after returning from the marathon:
"I feel blessed about having met many admirable people who impressed me with their passion, determination and positive thinking to make a difference in Sierra Leone. And big "thank you" to everybody who donated on my marathon fundraiser for Street Child helping me get the best improved marathon fundraiser award."
And our final award of the night went to the amazing Chris Parkes who won the ‘Spirit of the Marathon’ award for all his hard work photographing and capturing the essence of the marathon.
When we asked Chris about winning the award he said:
“It was completely unexpected as the experience in itself had been so extraordinary and rewarding in itself. I felt really loved and that my work was helping make a real difference to a cause in the way I always hoped it would. I was humbled that I have found such inspiring, supportive people to work with."
Thank you again to all those who came, fundraised and supported the Sierra Leone Marathon 2016. We hope to see you back next year!
You can register for next year's event here.