Over 1,400 Liberians have signed up to take part in the Liberia Marathon which takes place in Monrovia on Sunday 25 August 2013. The 2nd Liberia Marathon and 10k run celebrate a decade of unity and peace and over 2,000 runners are expected to take part.
Liberia in West Africa is perhaps better known for overcoming its devastating civil conflict and electing Africa’s first ever female President than it is for long distance running. But in the footsteps of an extremely successful first ever marathon in 2011, it’s expected that runners will come from all walks of life on the big day this year to take part in Liberia’s second marathon.
The Mayor of Monrovia, Cabinet Ministers, elite international runners, ex-combatants, market sellers, wheel chair users and amputees…will all be running for Liberia under the motto “Liberia Rising, Together”.
The scale of this event symbolises how far the country has come in such a short time. In the inaugural race, Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, put on her sneakers and took part. Afterward saying of the event, “Rain or shine the Marathon and 10K was a resounding success.”
The organisers have major ambitions to build long distance running in West Africa and the event is expecting to attract a large number of participants from Liberia and internationally. For the first time all runners will have time trackers to record their run.
With a top cash prize of up to US$3,000 and full International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Certification for the course, the event attracts an elite field of runners from Ethiopia and Kenya who will compete against the Liberian runners.
In 2011, it was 18 year old Liberian Lucy Massaqoui who won the women’s race and her message to others is simple: “I encourage more women to run with me.” The men’s first race was won by Ethiopian Mehari Gebre Baraki in 2h 29 minutes.
The non-profit event is organised by a group of Liberian and foreign volunteers, and financed by sponsorship drawn from within Liberia and elsewhere. Sponsors for this year’s race include the National Oil Company of Liberia, Lonestar Communications, Chevron and others. The race takes place in August, with a route covers almost the entire city, finishing in the Samuel K. Doe National Stadium in Africa’s oldest Republic.
“When a group of volunteers came together in 2010 with a vision to organize Liberia’s first ever marathon, a lot of people told them it could not be done. Liberia was too humid, too wet, too focused on football, or sprinting, or simply not ready for an event like this. More than 1000 runners proved them spectacularly wrong and we can’t wait for Liberia’s second marathon to be even bigger and better” says Robert Brinckman, Marathon Director.
International participants are welcome to take part (registration $50 USD) and travel packages can be arranged through the marathon.
For more information go here: http://liberiamarathon.com/