Run 162 : Mali – Bamako

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Date : 6th February, 2019

Time : 57’ 03”

Number of runners (total to date) : 6 (3266)

Run map and details :

Media :

Recommended listening : ‘Dimanche a Bamako’ – Amadou et Mariam

After a mini adventure with my taxi I managed to meet Craig, head of security at the British Embassy, in time for my pre-breakfast run with HMA (Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Mali – Cat Evans.) Having completed our introductions including, crucially, with Millie, the Ambassadorial dog, we limbered up and set off on our run.

There were six of us on the run

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and our route took us past the house of the richest person in Bamako

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and down to the banks of the river Niger which flows through Bamako. Where HMA graciously agreed to narrate a quick video.

I’d like to tell you more about the rest of the route but I didn’t really notice it as I was deep in conversation with HMA. And I’d like to tell you more about the conversation except that I always feel that confidentiality should apply with regard to ‘running conversations’ with diplomats. Suffice it to say that, you can always tell the company is good when you don’t notice the kilometres ticking by!

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After the run it was time to head off to the Lycee Francaise for a couple of school talks. The sign on the wall by the main entrance acts as a reminder that the security situation in Bamako is currently far from easy.

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For those unfamiliar with these talks, they use the Run the World story to deliver healthy living advice.The first talk was to Fatima’s class of 11-12 year olds (pictured above). They’re francophone so Fatima translated for me. Now, I quite often give talks / media interviews with a translator and it’s mostly a matter of speaking logically and stopping in the right places.

Working with Fatima was a little different. She was only just back at work after three months off with heart problems. And so passionate about healthy living that I only had to introduce a topic and she would run with it. She did such a great job that, by the end, I was just sitting back and taking mental notes.

I then talked to Carine’s class of 14-15 year olds.

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Carine’s upbringing was hard by any standards. Her father died of diabetes when he was 40 and her mother, who’s been living with HIV for most of her adult life, was left to bring up 7 children on her own. She also has reason to care deeply about healthy living and I just hope that, in some small way, the Run the World talks will have helped reinforce the healthy living lessons that teachers like Fatima and Carine try to impress upon their students.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to HMA, to Craig and to my fellow runners (who will remain unnamed for security reasons) for the company and an excellent run. And to Carine and to Fatima for inviting me to talk to their students.

If by any chance you can be in London on July 4th 2020 then we’d love to see you for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country’s economy centers on agriculture and mining. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.

In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, and in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad. The conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March[ and later fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month later, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, and legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.

World Bank Data

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

GDP $15.3 bn 2017 $3.0 bn 2000
Population 18.5 m 2017 11.0 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 80% 2017 58% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.08 2014 0.08 2000
% below poverty line*** 41.1% 2009 50.9% 2000
Life expectancy at birth 58.0 yrs 2016 48.1 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $770 2017 $280 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 much 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 Mali performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

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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