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Makeni to host Salone’s First Marathon Race

Makeni to host Salone’s First Marathon Race

In a bid to address the mounting number of children whose lives are controlled by the street and to reintegrate them with their families and send them back to school, a world class non-governmental organization Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sport is codifying the first ever Kiln Sierra Leone marathon, which will be held in the northern headquarter town of Makeni on 9th June, 2012.  (Photo: European runners for 1st marathon in Makeni)

The marathon has already attracted the attention of 150 participants from 12 countries worldwide, including the US, UK, Germany, the Gambia, South Africa and Canada. The event has attracted the Freetown Hash House Harriers (a running club with a drinking problem) and is now hoping to attract the attention of other Sierra Leoneans that would like to travel to Bombali District to compete alongside those international runners in a month’s time.

The event is being supported by a number of local partners including the Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA) and the Athletics Coalition (SLAC). In a meeting held with the organizing committee of Kiln Sierra Leone, the SLAA President, Mr. Karim Sesay said “the SLAA is delighted that Street Child is holding this event in Makeni, Sierra Leone. This is a great opportunity to develop our athletes’ race experience without having to travel abroad, and is an opportunity to showcase our young talent to the world”.

According to Nick Piggott (Event Director), the races cater for all running abilities, and participants can compete in a marathon (42.2km), half-marathon (21.1km) or 5km event. The Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon is offering a total prize fund of Le4,000,000 that will only be available to Sierra Leonean runners with prizes for the first three men and women in each of the three races.  The Event Director further revealed registration requirements for Salone participants is: to be eighteen years old for the full marathon and costs Le40,000 to register, the half marathon is the same age limit and registration is Le30,000, and runners in the 5 km race must be 14 years old and pay le 15,000. He further maintained that registration forms are available at O’Casey’s Bar in Aberdeen, the athletics office at the National Stadium, 49 Pademba Road, and The Clubhouse on Magburaka Road, Makeni.

Participants will be encouraged to help raise funds and be given the opportunity to visit Street Child Centres and school building projects being carried out by UK charity. All of the money raised by sponsors and participants in the event will be used to get a minimum of 1,000 children off the streets and 5,000 children into school throughout Sierra Leone.

Street Child of Sierra Leone founder, Tom Dannatt commented: “The Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon really is a unique event. It’s the first of its kind to be held in this country so we hope that Sierra Leoneans will want to get involved and support the work that Street Child is doing to help vulnerable children throughout the nation.

“A recent survey carried out in conjunction with 62 NGOs and with the support of the Government of Sierra Leone identified 50,000 children whose lives are currently and comprehensively controlled by the streets: nearly 1% of the entire population. All of the funds raised through this marathon will go directly towards helping those children.

“At Street Child, we believe that all children have the right to a secure home, a quality education and a sustainable environment in which to develop. The popularity and success of the Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon will go a long way towards helping us ensure that those basic essentials become not just a right for these children, but also a reality.

Key corporate partners to alleviate the plights street children in the country include SSGI, who will be providing first class professional and accountable security and logistic services, Flash Vehicle Rentals, Sierra Leone’s leading fleet management service, and Splash! Sierra Leone’s first mobile payment system.

Since its inception, the charity has reached over 3000 children and reunified over 1000 children. The charity has built 12 primary schools in remote, rural communities which have never had schools before. The Every Child in School (ECiS) project has schooled over 2000 children and provides distance education for one hundred and sixty untrained and unqualified teachers.

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