Run 133 : Sierra Leone – Freetown

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Please give generously to Cancer Research :

Date : 15th January, 2018

Time :  1h 8’ 38”

Number of runners : 15

Total distance run to date : 1330 km

Run map and details :

Not everything goes to plan when you travel, and run, round the world. For example, I wasn’t expecting the Sierra Leone National Paralympic Committee to arrange a big welcome for me. But they did. And I was honoured to meet them and some of the country’s para-athletes.

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We had a great chat about both the NPC’s situation in Sierra Leone (if any potential donors read this than I’m sure they’d appreciate the extra support) and about a global initiative I’ve been discussing with the international Paralympic Committee to raise funds for the Paralympic movement and to inspire grassroots activity. (More on that in a later blog if it turns into anything concrete.)

I also hadn’t expected Emad to arrange a separate 10km for me in addition to the usual hash he organises on a Monday evening. But he had. And there were about 15 of us at the start line.

Unfortunately the terrain – steep, rocky dirt tracks – weren’t appropriate for wheelchairs but it was great to have a number of the para-athletes at the start line.

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Led by Abe we then proceeded to run around west Freetown – mostly on dirt tracks and mostly up and down hills. Not that you’ve got a lot of choice in Freetown – it’s pretty much all on hills.

Thankfully the pace wasn’t brutal and there was a chance to chat, observe the globally ubiquitous chickens and plastic and, at one stage, pick up a retinue of kids. Who promptly snapped to attention when I turned to take a photo.

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About 8 of us made it to the finish including one of the para-athletes.

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We them met up with the rest of the hash, rehydrated in traditional fashion and made our way to the biggest circle I’ve ever been part of. (If you’d like to know more about circles, and hash traditions generally, then I’d recommend the Ghana and Estonia blogs.)

There must have been about 60 of us and, after hearing from Mismanagement (Emad),

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it was time for the down downs (punishments mostly involving drinking beer.)  One for a hasher who’d been late and one for a hasher who’d committed the heinous crime of getting married on a Friday – and then aggravated the sin by not inviting the rest of the hash to the wedding.

I was then introduced to the circle and given no more than 1 minute to talk about RTW. (Believe me, I kept to my time limit – anything to avoid a down down!)

Before being presented with Freetown Hash t shirt.

We ended with a stirring rendition of ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot‘ with all the (in)appropriate movements. [I do have video of this but decided that, sometimes, what happens in the circle, stays in the circle!)

It was a very fine run and evening all round. Thank you Emad, Unisa, Abe, Sheka, Danielle and everyone else from the Freetown hash! And thank you to the NPC and all the para-athletes (full list of names below) for the support and the great welcome!

Unisa Deen Kargbo, NPC President.

Alexander Thullah, NPC  Sect Gen

Mrs Pamela Williams, NPC Executive Member

Mrs Zainab Wilson, NPC Executive Member

Benjamine Pratt,  NPC Executive Member

Alex Lansana Klaye, NPC Executive Member

Alhassan Kargbo, Athlete

George Wyndham, Athlete

Munda Kamara, Athlete

Mohamed Kamara, Athlete

Sorie Kamara, Athlete

Ibrahim Fofanah, Athlete

Obai Dumbuya, Athlete

Ansumana Daramy, Athlete

Umaru Jah, Athlete

Alusine Denkeh, Athlete

Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And please donate to Cancer Research if you’d like to help fight the global scourge that is cancer.

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the northeast, Liberia to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 (based on the 2015 national census). It is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a directly elected 124 members of a unicameral legislature known as Parliament.

Freetown (population 1,050,301), located in the Western Area, is Sierra Leone’s capital, largest city and economic centre.

Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai, who became the country’s first Prime Minister. The current constitution of Sierra Leone was adopted in 1991, though it has been amended several times. Since independence to present, Sierra Leonean politics has been dominated by two major political parties; the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC), though the military has seized power through coup d’état six times since independence in 1961.The last military coup in the country was in early 1997.

From 1991 to 2002, the Sierra Leone Civil War was fought and devastated the country. The proxy war left more than 50,000 people dead, much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed and over two million Sierra Leoneans displaced as refugees in neighbouring countries.

More recently, the 2014 Ebola outbreak overburdened the weak healthcare infrastructure, leading to more deaths from medical neglect than Ebola itself. It created a humanitarian crisis situation and heavily impacted economic growth. The country has an extremely low life expectancy relative to other countries, at 57.8 years. .

Although the English language is the official language spoken at schools and government administration, the Krio language, an English-based creole, is the most widely spoken language across Sierra Leone and is spoken by 97% of the country’s population. The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction with each other.

Sierra Leone is a Muslim majority country, with the overall Muslim population at 78% of the population, though there is an influential Christian minority of various denominations at about 21% of the population. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other very peacefully. Religious violence is very rare in the country. The major Christian and Muslim holidays are officially public holidays in the country, including ChristmasEasterEid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, a major producer of gold and has one of the world’s largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite exploitation of this natural wealth, 70% of its population live in poverty.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Sierra Leone – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                               $3.74 bn    2016      $635 m    2000

Population                                   7.40 m       2016      4.56 m     2000

Primary school enrolment*     128 %        2015       68 %       2000

CO2 Emissions**                         0.19           2014       0.09        2000

% below poverty line***          52.9 %       2011      66.4 %     2003

Life expectancy at birth           51.4 yrs     2015      38.7 yrs   2000

GNI per capita                             $490         2016      $140         2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  Sierra Leone performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.


About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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4 Responses to Run 133 : Sierra Leone – Freetown

  1. Pingback: Run 135 : Mauritania – Nouakchott | dansgoldchallenge

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