The organizers of the Liberia Marathon launched a fund-raising appeal Monday to enable them to stage the first marathon since the Ebola epidemic was successfully brought to an end in the country.
The marathon, which has been hailed by former President Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Liberia’s President Ellen Sirleaf as a symbol of peace, was cancelled last year due the epidemic that swept the country in 2014, and continued until the WHO declared Liberia Ebola-free in September.
The organizers said that this year’s race would be dedicated to those who lost their lives in the epidemic, and that Liberians and runners crave the opportunity to celebrate the country’s triumph and return to normal.
They said the economic aftershock of the epidemic, in which Liberia’s GDP fell to zero and most foreign investors fled the country, led to the disappearance of the marathon’s traditional pool of sponsors.
The non-profit Liberia Marathon is seeking to raise $30,000 through a crowd-funding appeal on the fund-raising website IndieGogo to pay for logistics, prizes and materials for the race.
The marathon’s Race Director, Eunice Dahn said: “The marathon was created to symbolize Liberia’s unity and resilience. In the past year Liberia has been through hell again because of Ebola. Now that it is defeated, we just want to help bring back the normalcy that people in Liberia want and deserve. We need people’s support to do that, so we appeal to everyone to donate to help make the marathon possible.”
The race is planned for November 8, and includes a 10km event – the only such race in West Africa open to athletes using wheelchairs and crutches.