local people

Sierra Leone Back on the Tourist Map Thanks to Charity Marathon

Sierra Leone Marathon 2018

The Sierra Leone Marathon organised by the London-based charity Street Child UK has helped bring tourism to Sierra Leone and raise much-needed funds for some of the countries poorest children.

2018 Was the seventh running of the Sierra Leone Marathon and a whopping £150,000 was raised to fund access to education and provide support. Britons made up a 97 strong international contingent, taking on the roads of the northern city Makeni, alongside 500 local athletes. Sierra Leone is no easy feat with temperatures soaring to 30C and humidity at a sticky 98 per cent. 26 Year old Jess Cotton from Romford was the first international woman home in an impressive 3 hours 53 minutes. Jess managed to raise more than £22,000 together with some of her colleagues at City Insurance firm Tokio Marine Kiln.

Jess Cotton And Isatu Turay At Sierra Leone Marathon 2018

Jess Scott on the Sierra Leone Marathon

Jess commented, “I wasn’t expecting to win. I’m chuffed. The scenery was amazing but no one warned us about the hills. The kids came up to me when I was having a panic attack. I was on my own and it was a bit bleak, but the kids ran from the side of the road and ran with me.”

Why Sierra Leone and how to elevate it?

Sierra Leone's GDP took a 20 per cent knock in 2015 and 2016 due to a fall in commodity prices and an Ebola outbreak. The key to rebuilding Sierra Leone's economy is tourism.

“We’re one of Sierra Leone’s main draws for tourism. We take people to see our work but I think everyone leaves loving Sierra Leone ,” said Tom Dannatt, chief executive of Street Child. Through the 1,000 schools project, Street Child aims to raise £10 million over a five year period to give 100,000 children a chance to learn.

The Sierra Leone Marathon - such a treat and all for a good cause

The woman's race was ultimately won by Isatu Turay from Waterloo, Freetown. Local man Charlie Usman won the men's race for the second year on Sunday in a time of 2 hours 39 minutes. The first British man home was Matthew Geleta from Cambridge in a time of 3 hours 20 minutes.

“It is incredibly important that organisations like Street Child – it’s not the only one – actually try to make a difference in Sierra Leone,” commented Countdown presenter and Street Child patron Nick Hewer.

We are so excited about what is happening in Sierra Leone and would love to show you what the excitement is all about, so why not drop us a line and let's share our experience with you.

Credit to the Evening Standard for this wonderful piece and the images.


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Five countries, Six Marathons

The founders and directors of Africa Marathons have over 35 years of combined experience in the Africa travel industry and have built up detailed and in-depth knowledge of 16 countries on the African continent. We promote and offer packages to running events in 5 of these countries at present : The Comrades Ultra Marathon and the Cape Town Marathon in South Africa, the Street Child Marathon in Sierra Leone, the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania, the Uganda Marathon and the Victoria Falls Marathon in Zimbabwe. As well as the full Marathons mentioned above, there are also Half Marathons, 10km/5km and fun runs at most events if you are not quite ready for a full distance. All of these events are run against some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery that Africa has to offer. With our parent company, Tailormade Africa, we also offer pre and post marathon packages to take advantage of being in the most exciting, vibrant and wild continent in the world.

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Whether you are an experienced or novice runner and looking for a new challenge or just simply thinking about visiting the continent for the first time, we would love to speak to you. Our first aim is to get to know you, your running experience and aspirations, so we may best advise on which events would challenge you whilst giving you a high chance of success. So please do pick up the phone and give us a call. We look forward to speaking to you.

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