Q Where does the race take place?
A All distances whether the marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k will take place around a city called Makeni, the economic centre of northern Sierra Leone and the capital of Bombali District. It lies about 120 miles east (a 2-3 hour drive) of Freetown.
Q What is the route?
A We are changing the route this year but for an idea of the kind of landscapes you will be passing through, check out our Marathon Day page.
Q When does the race take place?
A Races will start early to avoid the worst of the sun, usually around 6am.
Q What is the terrain like?
A The Sierra Leone Marathon will be run on both urban and rural roads. The majority of these are hard-packed mud roads, but also some tarmac. The route will take in some of the most beautiful scenery of Northern Sierra Leone.
Q How can I register?
A You can register for the 2018 race here.
Q Who is managing the race?
A An experienced team of Street Child’s UK and local staff will be organising the event along with other volunteers from UK and Sierra Leone.
Q I’m not a runner but still want to go, can I volunteer?
A Yes! We have lots of opportunities for non-runners. This year you can walk, jog or run any of the distances. We are also offering the option to become a Race Day Volunteer. Example tasks include; helping on the start /finish area giving out medals or recording results, manning the water stations, helping the medical team or assisting with transport. You will still go on the amazing project visits and travel this incredible country with the rest of the runners. It will be on days 3 and 4 when you would be asked to join the operational team, helping in the preparation and smooth running of this spectacular event.
Q What facilities will be available en route?
- Regular water stations (some with with rehydration sachet/drinks)
- Fixed and mobile medical support
- Live music at certain points
Q How should I prepare for the race?
A See our Training page for more information.
Q How much do I need to raise to be eligible to take part?
A Other than covering your costs to take part, we ask that you raise as much as you can! Every participant is required to fundraise a minimum of £1000 per person. Street Child's experienced fundraising team and mentors will work with each participant to ensure they reach and go beyond this target. Part of participants’ experience will be seeing where their money will be going and meeting some of the children we have already helped.
Q How much of my package goes towards the charity?
A The cost of your package covers the cost of your accommodation, transport, food and race costs. The charity does not make a profit on your package.
Q Where does my money go?
£10 can provide a school uniform
£30 can send a child to primary school for a year.
£100 can provide textbooks for a whole classroom of children in a rural school.
£250 can provide a mother with a business grant and training so they can afford to send their children to school
£500 can fund training for 10 teachers and raise teaching standards
£1000 can provide all the necessary classroom furniture and resources for a village school
£2000+ Funds the construction of a first-ever temporary class-room or mini-’school’ in a rural village. It also gives us time to start work on a permanent structure which can take up to 3 years to build.
£5000+ Funds the construction of a village school with 2 classrooms for 100+ children: the first proper school that village has ever had.
Q Should I be worried about Ebola if I want to attend the marathon?
A The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola on 7th November 2015. The Sierra Leone Marathon is confident that the marathon poses no risk to runners in the areas we will be travelling to.
Q Will you cancel if Ebola returns to Sierra Leone?
A We will take advice - and we certainly won’t ask anyone to take unnecessary risks..
Q Are there currently flights available?
A Yes: Air Maroc, Air France, KLM and Air Brussels are all running a service at the moment. We also hope a direct UK route may open up soon. Please contact the Sierra Leone Marathon team for advice before booking your flights.
Q I'd love to come but I'm worried that I can't afford it?
A This event is first and foremost about raising money for our critical work with vulnerable children. If you think you could raise a great amount of money we really want you there, no matter what!
Get in touch to discuss this option further.
Q How will I get around the country?
A All in-country transport is provided. This includes transport from the airport and to our project visits.
Q What will the climate be like in May 2018?
A Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, warm temperatures and high humidity. The rainy season is about to begin at the end of May. The run will be hot - but with a dawn start to avoid the worst of the heat and regular water and re-hydration stops, hopefully not too hot!
Q Do I need a visa for Sierra Leone?
A You will need a visa, unless you are from West Africa. Street Child can help organise this and once you are registered we will issue a letter of invitation to accompany a visa application form. A single entry visa costs £109 and can be obtained in person or by post from the Sierra Leone High Commission in London. Visas are valid for 3 months from date of issue. Please do not apply for visas before 1st March 2018.
Q Travel health
A See a travel nurse and doctor at least 6-8 weeks before travel. You should visit your local GP for advice if necessary. Unless you travelled recently to a similar destination it is almost certain you will need a few vaccinations. Two absolute must-haves are a vaccination certificate for yellow fever which is required for entry into the country and anti-malarial medication. Please bring your yellow fever certificate with you to Sierra Leone.
Q Travel and health insurance
A This is the responsibility of every individual runner. Make sure you are covered for sporting events of this nature and that it covers Sierra Leone. We ask that you make sure you are personally covered for your trip and will not allow you to take part in the event without travel insurance.
Q What money should I bring?
A Bring cash. Stirling notes are easily changed, as are dollars. Credit card use in Sierra Leone is very limited - worth bringing a credit/debit card strictly as a back-up only (the banks in Makeni have chip and pin machines for emergency withdrawals). Big denominations of cash get better rates - but avoid pre-2006 series Dollars as they are rejected by many businesses and some banks.
Q Where will I stay?
A We offer a range of travel packages from local guesthouses to hotels depending on your preferences. Prices start from £299 (non-inclusive of flights and visa) including all meals, in-country travel, project visits, race entry and beach BBQ.
Q What should I pack (apart from my running kit)?
- Torch and batteries.
- Umbrella and a rain coat.
- Mosquito repellent with 50% DEET.
- Favourite food and snacks
- Anti bacteria hand gel - dramatically reduces your chances of travellers tummy
- Mosquito net (a double one is recommended as there are few single beds) and a sleeping bag liner.
- Swimming costume/ shorts
- An old unlocked mobile phone - so you can buy a Sierra Leone sim and use the top up cards out here (massively cheaper than using your UK phone).
- Rehydration Salts (Dioralyte)
- Immodium - Your digestive system is likely to be a bit unsettled, prepare in advance!
- Insect bite cream.
- Antiseptic cream and plasters.
- Cards, games, activities for the evenings (electricity is not guaranteed)
- Money belt (not essential but a good idea)