The first ever KILN Sierra Leone Marathon is just under three weeks away, with over 100 runners signed up to run from around the world, alongside over 200 SaLone participants
On 9th June 2012 UK charity Street Child of Sierra Leone is hosting the Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon, the first ever marathon of its kind in the country.
To highlight the excitement this event is causing amongst local runners as well as amongst the many international runners signed up to take part Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon volunteer Mark Maughan has provided us with a couple of interviews with participants:
When you associate great marathon runners to African countries you think of Kenya and Ethiopia, there may however be a new country to contend with as Sierra Leone goes in search of new talent with the first ever KILN Sierra Leone Marathon.
Makeni-born Sally Koroma hopes to be the star that her country is looking for when she tackles the 26.2 miles course on June 9th along with many runners from around the world who are raising money for the charity ‘Street Child of Sierra Leone’.
Sally, 23, said: “I am very excited to compete in the first ever Sierra Leone marathon. I want people to come and take part in this marathon and let them experience how good it will be.”
Miss Koroma has previously represented Sierra Leone back in 2007, when she finished second in the 5000m in a competition held in Mali. Since then she has spent most of her time looking after her only son Mohammad, but is now desperate to get her athletics career back on track starting with the marathon.
She added: “Yes I think I can win the marathon, I think I will finish the in two hours and 30 minutes. I train everyday, it is going well, and I do at least seven miles a day along the highway. I want our people to take part, my brothers and sisters from Freetown, Kenema, Bo and Kono to come and take part as it will be a good marathon for us along with the international runners.”
Joe Turay, Director of Caritas, Makeni
The first ever KILN Sierra Leone Marathon is set to take place next month and although many of the locals have never experienced such an event, one man who knows exactly what to expect is Makeni-born Joe Turay.
Mr Turay, the Director of Caritas in Makeni, a development agency that supports the surrounding community, completed the London Marathon a few years ago in the UK.
He is thrilled to see the concept of a marathon arrive in Sierra Leone to give aid to children in poverty and allow him the opportunity to welcome people from around the world to his country similar to the one he received in England.
“I am very excited about the marathon. I experienced the marathon as a sport in the UK back in 2002, which was a remarkable event in my life and if people enjoy the same sort of experience here it will be fantastic. Particularly as it is in Makeni, my hometown, it will be fascinating.
“We are encouraging a lot of young people to take part and make history. The rational behind a marathon is very unique, it is not just about the running, it is also about initiatives of how you can contribute to development. For example when I completed the London Marathon I ran for CAFOD to raise money for the disadvantaged.
“For me, the marathon is a peace building process, all runners who come from different factions will bring us together and it is a unifying opportunity for many people. It is a social event, which will create a new outlook of Makeni and how it is growing in modern times. It will bring a north and south unity to this country.”
The 26.2-mile race around the city of Makeni and into the Northern Province of Sierra Leone will help to raise money for the charity ‘Street Child of Sierra Leone’, who offers care and support to homeless children and orphans. This is an organisation that Mr Turay is very fond of and is very willing to work with.
“Whatever funds are raised will help a lot of disadvantaged young people, children who are rough on the street, it will benefit them hugely.
“All around Africa the idea of a marathon is growing and this is something we can learn from. We want runners from all over the world to come here and be part of the initiative and see how they can contribute to making history in our country. I will be part of these people, I may not complete the full course, but I will join them and cheer them on from the start.
“As I tell my friends, I will never again run a marathon, it was really good fun but it is painful, so a few miles is enough for me.
The first Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon takes place on June 9, 2012. Click here for further information