Featured image: Liberia Marathon
The Liberia Marathon has been around for over 10 years and it’s steadily making itself a remarkable regional event.
On Aug. 21, the marathon will host its 5th race in Monrovia — the country’s capital. Runners and spectators will get the opportunity to line the course and participate in a one-of-a-kind event. Afterall, the Liberia Marathon is the only official street race that takes place in the country.
Participants come to Liberia from all over the world to compete in the half and full marathons, which have been endorsed by the government and community. The race regularly registers participants from East to West Africa with European and North American runners taking part as well.
In a country where football is king, running is most definitely a sport; the Liberia Marathon has the potential to become one of Liberia’s biggest international sporting events.
1. It’s competitive and fun.
The Liberia Marathon Trust has been planning and organizing the race since 2010. Charles Dorme Cooper, chairman of the board, shared that the race started off as an energetic event to bring people together in a positive way.
Cooper also shared that World Athletics (formerly IAAF) measured the course and deemed it an official marathon-loop back in 2010 as well. So, it’s legit, legit.
“From the very beginning, we’ve included road-running professionals and made sure that the event is about the athletes,” Cooper told Go Team Liberia.
2. Everyone can participate.
The marathon will have four races happening at the same time. This allows runners from all levels and abilities to participate. Participants can choose between the full marathon (42.2k/26mi), the half marathon (21.2/13.1), the 10k foot race, and the 10k wheel-chair and crutches race.
3. Registration is easy and affordable.
People who want to participate in the race can easily sign-up and pay in person or online. Plus, the marathon doesn’t have any restrictions on who can participate.
For national citizens registration fees range from $375 Liberian dollars ($2.50 US Dollars) to $1500 LRD ($10 USD). Foreign racers will pay $33 USD to $75 USD depending on the race. All wheelchair and crutches participants can register for free, regardless of national status.
There are currently nine local registration locations.
4. There are awards and cash prizes.
For some, the race isn’t just fun and games. It’s a competition and all competitions have prizes. Cooper shared that the Liberia Marathon has awards for the first man and woman to cross the finish line in each race. There’s even a Patriot Award for the first Liberian to finish the course.
Runners that don’t finish in the top spots still have an opportunity to leave with something — there’s a medal for everyone.
5. The race brings over 1000 people together.
One thing that marathon runners and Liberians have in common is “the love to celebrate.” Racers will have the chance to come together and celebrate as they cross the finish line one-by-one.
The Liberia Marathon typically registers over 1000 participants. This year it’s aiming for at least 2000 runners.
“It is competitive, people look forward to it and we literally have over a thousand people who will come out and participate in the races,” Cooper said.
6. It positively highlights Liberia.
A lot of great things come out of Liberia. Unfortunately, bad news travels further than good news. Still, the Liberia Marathon has managed to remain a positive headline, despite any difficult times that Liberia has experienced.
7. The course is unlike any other.
Organizers laid out a course that takes participants “through the most scenic areas” in Monrovia.
Cooper shared that his favorite part of the course is Redemption Road where runners will pass the most gorgeous beach view that surprisingly doesn’t offer the most pleasant smell. He calls it an odd, but memorable experience for racers.
“For Liberians, who are passing through it, they may have it in the back of their mind” he said. “For a foreigner, who’s passing through it, they might be like ‘What’s going on?’ but still they all comment on this location.”
Cooper shared that President Weah is currently building a sports park in the area, which will further increase its overall appeal.
Bonus: It’s Meaningful
People can register in groups and run for their favorite cause. In the past, participants have used the marathon to speak out against gender-based violence and to celebrate Liberia’s triumph over difficult time periods such as the Ebola pandemic.
Go online to learn more about the route, which runs from the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (SKD), around Somalia Drive, up Mamba Point, down Tubman Boulevard and back to SKD.