Sierra Leone|26 April 2023

THE SIERRA LEONE MARATHON 2023

"I came to Sierra Leone on my own, but in a matter of a few days, I left with a family. "

- Bea Meitiner, 2022 runner

Beginning on 26th April 2023, the Sierra Leone Marathon is a five-day adventure which will take you off the beaten track, all whilst showing you the beauty Sierra Leone has to offer. Winding through tropical jungle and local villages, the marathon route will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern Sierra Leone. From a full and half marathon to a 10K or 5K option, there is something for all running abilities. Regardless of the distance you run, each race will provide you with a unique perspective on this beautiful country, all whilst challenging your body and mind.

 

This trip is much more than just a marathon. 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 runners from around the world. However you design your trip, one thing is for certain: the Sierra Leone Marathon will provide the adventure you are looking for.

MAKE A LASTING POSITIVE IMPACT

The Sierra Leone Marathon is your opportunity to make a lasting positive impact!

 

Since 2008 Street Child has supported over  749,920 children into education and supported 89,773  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 20 countries worldwide and our Sierra Leone Marathon participants have played a crucial part in making this happen. This is your opportunity to become part of the Street Child story.

DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT

Check out some inspiring blogs from our 2022 runners, including plus-size runner Julie Creffield who took on the Sierra Leone Marathon 2022 with 8 women from her Too Fat To Run community.

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?

THE COST

Compared to other international marathons The Sierra Leone Marathon is great value with packages starting at only £499 (€589) per person. Packages include all your accommodation, travel within Sierra Leone, food, race entry, and race/medical support for the duration of your trip.

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

Still not convinced? Check out our 2022 highlights video!

FAQS
  • The Sierra Leone Marathon will take place between the 26th April – 1st May 2023. Beach extension available on 2nd and 3rd May 2023.

  • All distances (whether the marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k) 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 will be run on both urban and rural roads. The majority of these are hard-packed mud roads, but also some tarmac. The route will take in some of the most beautiful scenery of Northern Sierra Leone.

  • You can register for the Sierra Leone Marathon 2022 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.

  • You will need a visa, unless you are from West Africa. Street Child can help organise this and once you are registered we will issue a letter of invitation to accompany a visa application form. You can obtain a single visa in person or by post from the Sierra Leone High Commission in London. Visas are valid for 3 months from date of issue.

  • 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 runner. 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. Stirling 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)