I Heart Freetown Fashpack Runners

The highlight of the international sporting calendar, the Sierra Leone Marathon in Makeni, is almost upon us. As we all know, the race is a major fundraising event for Street Child attracting 100s of international runners from the UK and beyond. It’s also an important race for Sierra Leone’s best local runners.

The Freetown Fashpack Runners are a team of 40 of Freetown’s best long and middle distance runners who are supported each year through the fundraising efforts of Global Fashpack to run in Makeni and other prestigious international marathons.

FREETOWN_FASHPACK_RUNNERSPink headbands were the main reason behind the team’s success at the 2013 Sierra Leone Marathon.

The team has competed in the past two Sierra Leone Marathons and has achieved outstanding results on both occasions, blitzing the field of internationals and gaining places in all races. The best of the team went on to compete in the 2013 Liberian Marathon in August, returning with a swag of medals.

Marathon record holder Idrissa Kargbo competed in the New York Marathon last November where he battled freezing temperatures to run a courageous race. Last month he was joined at the London Marathon by Sierra Leone’s best female marathon runner, Mamie Konneh “Runaway” Lahun, they both clocked incredible times – personal bests and national records with Idrissa placing 61st in the entire field and Mamie 20th in the women’s section of the race.

You’re impressed right? Well here’s your chance to be part of their success. This year we are appealing to Freetown folk to sponsor a Freetown Fashpack Runner. For just Le100,000 (less than a block of low-grade camembert cheese at Freetown Direct), you will give a local athlete one of the only opportunities they have all year to compete. The race is a BIG DEAL for the team and they are determined to run their best times.

In exchange for your generosity you will receive a special edition, personalized, hi-tech, state-of-the-art, polyester Freetown Fashpack Runners vest which we encourage you to wear in the race if you are competing.

IheartThank you models Ibby and Idrissa, not only are these vests super attractive but they are perfect for running 42.5km in.

I heart2And from the back even better. Imagine if one of those names was replaced by yours? How proud would you feel?

For those keen to sponsor but have no interest in owning a polyester running vest, you can opt for the ever popular ‘Totes Amazeballs Tote Bag‘.

Totes_Low_resLook at those colours! look at that design! It’s the perfect cloth Africana bag exclusive to Global Fashpack.

All items will be delivered by the reliable Ibrahim ‘Ibby Fixer’ Kabia next week before the race in exchange for sponsorship payment. You will be acknowledged on the Global Fashpack Facebook page (‘like’ us if you haven’t already) with a photo and ‘thank you’ message. For those running, you are also invited to a punishing coaching session with the Freetown Fashpack Runners at Lumley Beach next Thursday (starts at Family Kingdom at 6pm). It’s a great opportunity to hear champion athlete Idrissa Kargbo scream at you to keep up the pace while half marathon rocket Usman ‘Super’ Challey will be there to give you the side eye of death when you start slowing down.

Come on! Do you want to get your ass whipped by Sierra Leone’s best on the 25th May? Of course you do! Dig deep people and let’s make sure Sierra Leone is properly represented at the race.

If you want to support the runners email me (jo@freetownfashpack.com) the following details:

1. Name:
2. Phone:
3. Shirt or bag or both? (A shirt and bag sponsorship package is Le120,000.)
4. Extra bag? (Le50,000 each)
5. Shirt size – S/M/L if you’re down with the shirt
6. Day time delivery address:

For those not in Freetown but want to throw some money at this great cause, a very generous Freetown lady will be running the marathon herself to raise money for the Freetown Fashpack Runners. Check out Kate Wood’s fundraising page here. If you donate, be aware that half your donation will go to Wel Bodi Partnership, another great Freetown-based organisation.

Idrissa Kargbo: first in fashion and marathons

Sierra Leone’s Marathon record holder Idrissa Kargbo is not only the best damn long-distance runner in Sierra Leone, but a snappy dresser as well. In case you’ve been living on Mars you may not have heard that he is going to that other fashion capital to compete in the New York Marathon on 3 November 2013.

Idrissa_Blog5 2Idrissa runs rings around Stella McCartney’s Team Great Britain collection in this athletic ensemble. From the Freetown Fashpack Runners terri-towelling headband to the shoulder-padded tracky top, it’s all about colour for the Kargbo. And how about that gleaming silver cup for a must-have accessory. It’s the very trophy Idrissa was awarded when he broke the national marathon record in 2012. While there’s no doubt Idrissa is a committed follower of fashion, running is his priority. “I love fashion, but I love running more,’ he says.

So Fashpack followers, have you done the fashionable thing yet and donated to the Global Fashpack crowdsource to get Idrissa to the New York Marathon? Log onto our crowd source and get  on-trend. If you’re feeling broke or stingy, tell a rich or generous pal, maybe they would like to help. You could even send a tweet about it or follow the Global Fashpack Facebook page, there will be some compelling campaign updates over the next month. So many ways to get involved!

Sporty Spice

It’s a sporty kind of Friday here in Freetown as a select group of Freetown Fashpack Runners board the bus for Monrovia to tackle the Liberian Marathon. Follow the action by liking the Global Fashpack Facebook page.

Sprinter Hawa is not part of the team this year, but I think she should be, based  purely on her fashion choices.

Hawa_low_resHawa’s fierce sporting armour is killer both on the track and about town. The 80s print lycra onesie rivals anything those Williams sister have ever spayed on their bodies and when teamed with a razor sharp mohawke, Hawa’s competitors don’t stand a chance.

Freetown Fashpack Runners were fashionably victorious at the Sierra Leone Marathon

The Freetown Fashpack Runners (FFR) were the undeniable champions at Sunday’s Sierra Leone Marathon in Makeni. Every single team member made Fashpack proud with sterling efforts, admirable sportsmanship and of course smoking hot team uniforms. While it’s not all about winning, the FFR dominated with a sweep of medals and too many outstanding results to mention.

First Photo_Low_resThis is the team before they hopped on the bus at the National Stadium in Freetown bound for Sierra Leone’s marathon city – Makeni. Despite a late departure and  sub-standard bus, our runners still managed to punch the air and do the Azonto in a show of sporting excitement.

Random_Photographer_low_resThe international media were there to send the team off. This young broadcast journalist deserves mention merely for the fur coat he was determined not to remove despite the stifling humidity.

DReam_Lowres

The 5km dream team start their warm-ups. And yes, it was so freaking early the sun was not yet up!

Nex_Le_low_resResident rapper Nex Lu led the athletes in a chorus of “Freetown Fashpack Marathon is lively, hit the start line with some energy, show some energy, show some energy..YEAH”. There he is on the left looking ecstatic about the 4am start alongside up-and-coming rap talent and 5km star I.B Love.

LowresjoandmeghanThe Fashpack Management Team can’t hide their excitement (or their shiny skin) despite the early start.

startline_low_resThe start line was well represented with the courageous Freetown Fashpack Runners. On the right there is Sierra Leone marathon record holder Idrissa Kargbo, preparing to defend his title as the marathon and half marathon competitors wait for the start gun.

George_and_prez_low_resIn perhaps the most emotional moment of the day, FFR superstar George Windham who was also the only wheelchair athlete in the race stood at the line and shook hands with His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma bringing tears to the eyes of his Coach, the Global Fashpack staff and all his fellow runners. George introduced the lovable leader to the crowd saying ‘This is my father’. Yep, George is totes down with the Prez.

JoandPres_low_resNot to be outdone by George, the Global Fashpack Director, jumped in and had her moment with the President. ‘I love your headband Jo’ were apparently the words that came out of the President’s mouth when she threw herself in front of His Excellency. She responded with ‘…and your tracksuit is rocking Mr President, good luck in the race’.

mensmarathon_low_resThe race produced so many champions  it’s hard to know where to start. In a shock defeat Idrissa Kargbo took second place in the men’s marathon when his team mate and friend Chris Johnson beat him to the number one podium. Both runners ran disappointingly slow times and Idrissa’s national record from last year still stands. Idrissa was gracious in his defeat and Chris was jubilant about the wood elephant carving he was awarded for first place. Joseph Kamara on the right completed this magical Fashpack trifecta coming in third.

Aminata kargbo_low_resThat’s Aminata Kargbo with an African Minerals big wig doing it for the ladies as she collects her third place certificate in the women’s marathon.

Tejan_Jalloh_Low_resAnd there’s Tejan Jalloh accepting his third place award in the men’s half marathon. The Marketing Director from Gambia Bird is excited to be in the presence of such sporting greatness.

second_mens_Half_lowresAlpha Kamara bought home the silver for Fashpack in the men’s half marathon. Half Marathon winner Usman Challey (who was not running for Fashpack) is clearly thrilled by his wood carved trophy.

Women_Half_winnersThe Fashpack winners weren’t grinners in this particular shot but that was mainly because of the wood carved trophy being handed to the first place getter, that’s unabashed jealousy right there on their faces. Fashpack ladies again did the team proud with Fatima Sesay scooping second and Adama Kamara securing a third in the women’s half marathon.

5km_Victory_low_resBest mates and Faspack’s friendliest team members Mohammed Mansaray and Augustin Momoh were chuffed to achieve a second and third respectively in the 5km race. While Fashpack congratulates these fine runners on their result, special mention must also go to race favourites Uzman Jalloh, Thomas ‘Tenderman’ Kamara and Ibrahim ‘I.B Love’ Kamara. These three national record-holding runners were leading the pack in the early stages of the race at such a length that they confused race officials who assumed they were part of the marathon and half marathon pack who had left half an hour earlier. Through no fault of their own the three were misdirected on the wrong path and ended up losing time before they were re-directed back to the 5km circuit. Dream_team_Low_resIn a sporting travesty the dream team lost their lead but still managed to gain respectable positions despite running several hundred meters further than the rest of the field. Tenderman was awarded 4th place, Usman 9th and IB Love 6th. Boys, we commiserate your misfortune but will stand by you next year when you take on the field for victory.

Girls 5km_low_resAnd it’s another trifecta with the Fashpack ladies sweeping the gold silver and bronze in the women’s 5km. Mabel Kallon was the noble victor, standing next to team mates Victoria Bestman in second and Aminata Sesay in third.

Filmcrew_low_resFashpack film crew never let that camera stop rolling capturing all the joy, tears, drama and emotion of the year’s greatest race. Acclaimed British Director Leanne Welham worked tirelessly through the race and in it’s lead-up with trusty side kicks Ibrahim Kabia and Victor Bestman (who also achieved a 4th place in the 5km) by her side. Thanks guys, Fashpack owes you all big time XX.

Merch_low_resThe Fashpack Management Team finally relax with a few beers behind the merch desk after the race. And for those in Freetown it’s not too late to purchase Fashpack bags, posters and postcards. Just email jo@freetownfashpack.com and we will sort you out. All money raised goes towards the Freetown Fashpack Runners and their trip to Makeni. For further recaps of the marathon, check out the Global Fashpack Facebook page.

The Councillor gets behind the Freetown Fashpack Runners

In a dramatic show of fashion and sporting support, local celebrity ‘The Councillor’ (who was just featured on the site) was seen wearing a Freetown Fashpack Runners headband. In case you haven’t heard, the FFR are a team of Sierra Leone’s best long and middle distance runners who will travel to Makeni on the weekend to compete in the Sierra Leone Marathon.

Councillor_lowResThe Councillor is all smiles in his teri-toweling pink head band.

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And there it is up close, the Councillor shows his love for the Freetown Fashpack Runners. Thanks Councillor!

An ‘It’ bag you can’t live without

Throw away your Birkin, burn your Celine, stomp all over your Marc Jacobs there’s a new ‘It’ bag on the block. Introducing this season’s Fashpack ‘Totes Amazeballs Tote Bag’. Made from 100% waxy West African cotton by local tailor Unisa Jalloh, the TATB is currently available for a bargain Le 30,000 exclusively in  Freetown by emailing me at jo@freetownfashpack.com. If you live elsewhere and you need one now, looks like you’re going to have to book a flight to Sierra Leone and pick one up in person, which would be totally worth it. Otherwise you can wait for our international distribution service which will hopefully take off in the coming months (or years, let’s be realistic).

IMG_1789 Adorable model Ibrahim Kabbia displays three different designs, all using a powerful clash of prints which are guaranteed to clash with whatever it is you’re wearing. All sales will help support the Freetown Fashpack Runners to compete in the Sierra Leone Marathon in Makeni on 26 May.

Disco inferno on the streets of Freetown

As the temperature in Freetown soars, so do the fashions on the street. The boys seem to be all over the headphone while the ladies are opting for the sizzling spray-on disco tight. And why not? They’re sexy, shiny and utterly booty-licious

Adama_low_res

Beyonce doppelganger Adama is burning my retinas in her shiny pink tights, so cleverly matched with her shoe laces. She was spotted at the national stadium, cheering on her favourite team at her school sports day.

Mariama

Mariama jumps on the pink tight disco train, this time with a casual T, some very fetching earrings and blingy sandals.

Mavis

It’s another stadium outfit, this time worn by Mavis who is supporting the yellow team. Her expression may be stoney but she’s already to party in her black tights teamed so well with a yellow top and laces. And that hair piece seems to be this season’s must-have accessory in Freetown.