Sierra Leone|01 May 2024

THE SIERRA LEONE MARATHON & CYCLE CHALLENGE 2024

Join us  in Sierra Leone from the 1st of May 2024 for an epic three or five-day adventure. Choose to run or cycle off the beaten track discovering the beauty that Sierra Leone has to offer. Winding through tropical jungle and local villages, the varied routes will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in Northern Sierra Leone. From a brand new full and half marathon course to a 10K or 5K option, there is something for all running abilities. This year we are launching an incredible 70km cycle for those of you that want to take on a different type of challenge. Regardless of the distance you complete, each race will provide you with a unique perspective on this beautiful country, all whilst challenging your body and mind.

 

This trip is so much more than just an awesome event.  You will have the opportunity to explore Northern Sierra Leone with like-minded individuals, attending workshops and discovering more about Street Child's work. Your epic racing adventure will begin at dawn, finishing back at Wusum stadium in Makeni to a hand-carved medal and a cold beer or fresh coconut! 

 

After a well-deserved rest that evening you then have the option to take a triumphant flight home or continue your journey to one of Sierra Leone’s tropical beaches. Here you can spend time relaxing or take the opportunity to get to know your fellow heroes from around the world. However you design your trip, one thing is for certain: the Sierra Leone Marathon & Cycle Challenge will provide the adventure you are looking for.

MAKE A LASTING POSITIVE IMPACT

The Sierra Leone Marathon is your chance to have the experience of a lifetime while making a lasting positive impact!

 

This is your opportunity to become part of the Street Child story. Since 2008, Street Child has supported over 91,057,534 children into education and 157,929 families to set up businesses so they can afford the cost of educating their children long-term.

 

We have grown from our first project in rural Sierra Leone to now working in 25 countries worldwide and our Sierra Leone Marathon participants have played a crucial part in making this happen.

THE BRAND NEW SIERRA LEONE CYCLING CHALLENGE

After a successful pilot in 2023, Street Child are excited to announce that we are officially launching our first ever Sierra Leone Cycle Challenge!

Experience Sierra Leone like never before on this incredible 70km cycle across the stunning scenery of Makeni. Find out more from former England rugby player Will Greenwood, who took part in our pilot Cycle Challenge last year.

DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT

At Street Child, we are so proud of this event. You've heard it from us so why not hear it from some other people?

Check out some inspiring blogs, testimonials and photos from past participants to found out what all the hype is about! Who knows, next year we could be featuring your story on our page...

View our running routes

Find out more about the exciting new running and cycling routes for the Sierra Leone Marathon and Cycling challenge 2024. All routes are available for download.

Fundraising for street child

100% of the money you raise is going towards supporting Street Child’s work. We ask that every participant fundraises a minimum of £1,000 to support our work. During the trip, you will have the unique opportunity to see the impact of your fundraising and learn from the Street Child teams about our work.

 

Not sure you want to run a marathon but still want to fundraise for Street Child?

GET IN TOUCH

If you have any questions regarding our Sierra Leone Marathon or want to find out more about how you can get involved, contact our Sierra Leone Marathon Team at slmarathon@street-child.org. We are here to help! For more information on cost and packages click the button below.

Join our social run club
  • What: Sierra Leone Marathon & Cycle Challenge 2024 – Social Run & Refreshments

  • When: 6pm-7pm Thursday 21st September 2023 – every two weeks onwards

  • Where: Street Child UK Office, 33 Creechurch Ln, London EC3A 5EB

Join us to find out more about the Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon & Cycle Challenge 2024, start your training with a gentle guided 5km jog with fellow participants to/from the Street Child office, followed by a drink and your chance to sign up or ask us about all things SLM.

Still not convinced? Check out our 2023 highlights video!

FAQS
  • The Sierra Leone Marathon will take place over the first May bank holiday with 3 night packages available between Friday 3rd May – Monday 6th May 2024 and a 5 night package between Wednesday 1st May – Monday 6th May 2024. Beach Add Ons are available on Monday 6th May and Tuesday 7th May 2024.

  • Terms and conditions can be found here

  • All distances (whether the marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k, cycling challenge or duathlon) will take place around a city called Makeni, the economic centre of northern Sierra Leone and the capital of Bombali District. It lies about 120 miles east (a 2-3 hour drive) of Freetown.

  • Races will start early to avoid the worst of the sun, usually around 6am.

  • The Sierra Leone Marathon takes place on some seriously stunning routes, with a mixture of epic trails down hard-packed mud roads and gentle glides along the tarmac roads passing through the neighbouring villages. You will explore parts of Sierra Leone that not many other people get to see, including the jungles surrounding Makeni and the vibrant backstreets leading to the finish line.

  • You can register for the Sierra Leone Marathon 2024 here.

  • An experienced team of Street Child’s UK and local staff will be organising the event along with other volunteers from UK and Sierra Leone.

  • We ask participants to check and understand any travel restrictions or COVID-19 requirements from their country of residence. Street Child are happy to provide support on this. Please see the UK governments advice on travelling to Sierra Leone here. Street Child staff in Sierra Leone will provide guidance on the local COVID-19 rules when in Sierra Leone

    • Regular water stations (some with re-hydration sachets/food/drinks)

    • Fixed and mobile medical support

    • Sports marshals and Street child staff cheering you on

    • Live music at certain points

  • Other than covering your costs to take part, we ask that you raise as much as you can! We ask every participant to commit to fundraising a minimum of £1,000 per person. 

    Street Child's experienced fundraising team and mentors will work with each participant to ensure they reach, and go beyond this target. Part of participants’ experience will be seeing where their money will be going and meeting some of the children we have already helped.

  • The cost of your package covers the cost of your accommodation, transport, food and race costs. The charity does not make a profit on your package.

  • Yes, flights are available. Participants will receive information on flights and travel. Please contact our team at slmarathon@street-child.org for further advice on booking your flights.

  • This event is first and foremost about raising money for our critical work with vulnerable children. If you think you could raise a great amount of money we really want you there, no matter what! Contact us to discuss this option further.

  • All in-country transport is provided. This includes transport to and from the airport in Sierra Leone.

  • Unless you have a West African (ECOWAS) passport, you will need a visa to enter Sierra Leone. Itis best to apply as early as possible. Unless you are returning to Sierra Leone, it is best to apply fora single-entry visa which costs $80. Please follow this link to apply: Sierra Leone E Visa 

    Please note that the landing visa you will receive is valid for entry anytime within 3 months and for stays of up to 1 month. You can apply for extensions, multiple-entry and business visas whenin Freetown or through the relevant High Commission or Embassy. Sierra Leone Immigration eVisa Website

    Travel Requirements

  • See a travel nurse and doctor at least 6-8 weeks before travel. You should visit your local GP for advice if necessary. 

    Unless you traveled recently to a similar destination, it is almost certain you will need a few vaccinations. Two absolute must-haves are a vaccination certificate for yellow fever which is required for entry into the country and anti-malarial medication. 

    Please bring your yellow fever certificate with you to Sierra Leone. 

    Please see the previous question regarding COVID-19, for further info on COVID-19 travel requirements.

  • This is the responsibility of every individual participant. Make sure you are covered for sporting events of this nature and that it covers Sierra Leone. We ask that you make sure you are personally covered for your trip and will not allow you to take part in the event without travel insurance. 

  • Bring cash. Sterling notes are easily changed, as are dollars. Credit card use in Sierra Leone is very limited, and it is worth bringing a credit/debit card strictly as a back-up only (the banks in Makeni have chip and pin machines for emergency withdrawals).

    Big denominations of cash get better rates - but avoid pre-2006 series Dollars as they are rejected by many businesses and some banks.

  • We offer a range of travel packages from local guesthouses to hotels depending on your preferences. Packages (non-inclusive of flights and visa) include all meals, in-country travel, race entry and medical support. 

    • Torch and batteries

    • Umbrella and a rain coat

    • Mosquito repellent with 50% DEET

    • Favourite food and snacks

    • Anti bacteria hand gel 

    • Face coverings

    • Printed proof of all COVID-19 vaccinations and any other essential documents 

    • Mosquito net (a double one is recommended as there are few single beds) and a sleeping bag liner

    • Swimming costume/shorts

    • Towel

    • An old unlocked mobile phone - so you can buy a Sierra Leone sim and use the top up cards out here (considerably cheaper than using your UK phone)

    • Rehydration Salt (Dioralyte)

    • Immodium - your digestive system is likely to be a bit unsettled, prepare in advance!

    • Insect bite cream

    • Antiseptic cream and plasters

    • Cards, games, activities for the evenings (electricity is not guaranteed)

    • Money belt (not essential but a good idea)