Gifty Hanson Can’t Wait for Next Liberia Marathon

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Smiling Gifty Hanson.jpg

A young Liberian long distance runner, Gifty Hanson cannot wait to run another marathon and hopes the Liberia Marathon Trust will shake the community with the 2015 edition.

Ms. Hanson, former student of the Harriet E. Barley United Methodist High School in Duazon on the Robertsfield Highway, wants to be in action.

“With the end of Ebola,” Ms. Hanson said in an interview yesterday in Monrovia, “I’m hoping that the Liberia Marathon Trust can get us into action with the next edition.”

The Liberia Marathon Trust is the body responsible for the yearly organization of the 10km and the 26km runs, since their inception in 2011.

Ms. Hanson ran in the maiden edition and surprisingly came second in the 26km otherwise known as ‘Around the World.’

Her happiest moment, she said, was when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presented to her the second place medal she earned at the 2011 marathon.

The 2013 edition came with much expectation for Ms. Hanson, diminutive but with a big heart when she took the challenge with thousands of Liberians and others for the race.

“I was prepared for the race like before,” Ms. Hanson said with a smile. “And in the end I earned the second place like the first one.”

Coming second in two marathon runs demonstrates the young woman’s ability to keep her focus to pursue her dream.

Ms. Hanson is from the family of eleven children and the daughter of the late Aisher Hanson, a member of the Armed Forces of Liberia (he was killed in 1990) and Corporal Linda Nimely also of the AFL. She began to run when she was 13 years.

Presently, her support comes from her mother. “I’m trying my best to squeeze personal resources to let my daughter enjoy her passion and will appreciate assistance from well meaning and humanitarian groups,” Madam Nimely said.

Among her previous sponsors is the former president of Mighty Barrolle Sports Association, Mr. Garmodeh Kangar. “Ms. Hanson has impressive talent as a track and field athlete who deserves every support available,” Mr. Kangar said in a telephone conversation.

Ms. Hanson was the star performer when she won gold medal for Grand Bassa County at the annual County Meet track and field competition in 2011.

“It was a big achievement to win gold at the County Meet,” she said, “which at the time earned me lots of admirers.” Ms. Hanson has developed a personal training schedule to ensure that she is always in shape and ready to run.

“I train three times a week,” she told the Daily Observer, “on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays near my community in Duazon.”

She said her dream is to gain sponsorship to get better doing track and field. “Track and field is my love,” Ms. Hanson said.

With the end of Ebola virus disease in Liberia, “I’m hoping that there will some opportunities for athletes to participate in continental competitions to win medals for our country.”

She said “I can a brighter future for athletes only if we can get sponsorship in Liberia or abroad.” Her mother has been in contact with officials at the Liberia National Olympic Committee, and Liberia Track & Field Federation officials are keeping their eyes on her.

Ms. Hanson’s brother Sam, 21 is a footballer and her younger sister Bernice Nimely, 13, who is a basketball player and also loves to play soccer.

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