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Police officer wins Street Child Marathon

October 27, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Over five hundred local and international runners over the weekend participated in the fourth Sierra Leone Marathon organised by Street Child of Sierra Leone with support from Africell mobile company, Dad’s Cars, among others, at the Wusum Stadium in Makeni, north of the country.

The event, which was also graced by President Ernest Bai Koroma, who took part in the 5km run, was won by Osman Charley of the Sierra Leone Police with 17 year-old Victoria Bestman of Waterloo finishing fourth to become the first female to complete in the full marathon (26.2 miles).

The event commenced with the full and half marathon runners at 6:00am and followed by the 10km and 5km at 7:00am. Among the 700 and more that took part in the marathon, a total of 24 participants were presented with bronze medals, while others received trophies.

Declaring the 2015 Marathon opened, President Koroma welcomed both international and local runners, assuring them that Sierra Leone is a lovely country with loving people, adding that even though the country is yet to be declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization, it is now safe to do business.

“Coming to Sierra Leone in huge numbers effectively communicates to the world that the Ebola viral disease that has ravaged the country for the past one year is now under control,” he said and encouraged the runners, especially those coming from other countries, to give their unflinching support to Street Child because their work has increased greatly.

According to him, the organisation is not only working with children living on the street and building schools, but also caring for children that have been affected and infected by the Ebola disease.

“Let me also assure you that every single cent raised by Street Child will be used for its intended purpose,” he assured.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Street Child UK, Tom Dannatt, described the marathon as one of the country’s leading sporting events that has helped transform the lives of thousands of vulnerable children in the country, as well as building schools.

He revealed that proceeds from the marathon will be used to address the social issues faced by children orphaned by Ebola.

Dannatt explained that the marathon came into existence in 2012 just after his organisation launched the National Headcount Survey Report that was aimed at knowing the total number of children who depend on the street for their survival.

“Every year, the marathon adds valves on activities undertaken by Street Child such as the building of schools, provision of education support such as note and text books, pens, pencils, mathematical sets and other relevant materials that will enhance learning; provision of business grant to caregivers of vulnerable children within our project areas,” he noted.

He assured that the hundreds of millions of Leones that will be raised will go as support to vulnerable children and families across the country, who have been affected by Ebola, adding: “The marathon will return in May 2016.”

On his part, Country Director of Street Child of Sierra Leone, Emmanuel Kelfa Kargbo, expressed his profound thanks to all partner organisations and those that participated in the event, including DFID, CAFOD, Goal and Plan International, among others, for their support in alleviating the suffering of vulnerable children and their families.

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