October 5, 2015 By Hawa Amara
Some 500 national and international runners are expected in Sierra Leone to participate in the full or half marathon and the 10km and 5km races, respectively, on 24 October in Makeni.
The event is organised by Street Child Sierra Leone in collaboration with Street Child UK, with support from Africell mobile company, to raise hundreds of millions of Leones to support vulnerable children and families across the country that have been affected by the Ebola scourge.
Speaking during the press launch of the event, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Street Child UK, Paul Humphries, said this year’s marathon is the fourth and that it is regarded as one of the country’s leading sporting events.
He revealed that international runners from three continents will participate in the event, and that they hope this year’s marathon would help show the world that Sierra Leone is pretty much open for business once again despite the negative impact of the Ebola crisis.
“I want to thank our sponsor, Africell, for renewing their support for this year’s special event,” said Mr. Humphries. “We are very excited to be bringing the Sierra Leone Marathon back to Makeni for 2015 and want to encourage people from across the country to come and join us for this very special event.”
He encouraged those interested in participating to sign up as soon as possible at official locations in Freetown and the provinces where Street Child have offices, and disclosed that all runners will receive medals and t-shirts.
“Winners of each race will take home one of the official Street Child of Sierra Leone Marathon trophies and the chance of a share the prize fund,” he disclosed.
The Street Child UK boss concluded by stating that the organising committee is working closely with the government and local authorities in Makeni to ensure a safe and secure environment “for this unique sporting challenge”.
Also, Africell Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Joe Abass Bangura, said his company is delighted to be the official telecoms provider and a partner of the event.
He said the event would send a message to the world that even though the World Health Organisation is yet to declare the country Ebola free, it is still a safe place to do business, which is what the presence of large number of participants from all continents around the world would signify.
“Africell is well known for its support to the grassroots and needy Sierra Leoneans and are elated at the chance to once again make a difference in the lives of these children,” he said. “We also pride ourselves in being the dominant supporter of sports in the country.”
Mr. Bangura disclosed that the company would take care of the printing of banners and posters for publicity, media coverage, PA system, platform stage and a cheque of ten million Leones (Le10,000,000).