TFTR at The Sierra Leone Marathon this summer

It has been 3 years since I last run a marathon.

During the global pandemic I barely run at all, and never imagined I’d ever think about running a marathon again, let alone a marathon considered one of the craziest on the planet…oh and why not bring a bunch of your clients with you too Julie and raise £100,000 for charity in the process?


And so yes, myself and 10 women from the Too Fat to Run Community have committed to running the Sierra Leone Marathon in West Africa, this June in an attempt to raise £100,000 for StreetChild.

But why?

The global pandemic was particularly tough for the women in my community. Many of them are teachers, nurses, carers, parents, and many of us (not all) found it really difficult to prioritise our running.

The knock-on effect for me at least was of course the obvious drop in fitness levels and the inevitable weight gain (damn you banana bread), but the less obvious ones too of increasing social anxiety, a reduced desire to take any kind of risk, and a general loss of confidence.

I had lost my running mojo and needed something to work towards.

When I heard about the Sierra Leone Marathon, I was a bit like “Ahhh I guess it’s time to Go Big or Go Home hey?” and after speaking to the team about the event, I knew this would be the event to make my come back for.

I started my career working with young people, and I know the importance of education across the board, and so the charitable aims, plus the ethos of the marathon itself really spoke to me.

I knew I would be able to recruit a team to come with me….but I also knew that there would be women from my community who would want to get involved but couldn’t commit to flying across the globe…or training for a marathon.

And so the Getting Back Out There Challenge was born….whereby women would choose their own adventure and raise money for the team their own way…be that training for a 5K, climbing a mountain, learning to swim again…whatever their personal mission was, wherever in the world they happened to be.

But back to Sierra Leone.

I have recruited 10 women from the Too Fat to Run Community to take on what runner’s world magazine has dubbed “the craziest marathon in the world” .

Amid searing temperatures, we will wind through tropical jungle and remote villages. The Sierra Leone Marathon, now in its 10th year, is organised by the charity Street Child. Street Child works to ensure children are safe, in school and learning in low resource environments and emergencies such as Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon and Bangladesh.

And the good news is…we can add more runners to the team, so if you are reading this feeling like you’d love to take part in an adventure of a lifetime like this…get in touch to find out more.

Training is underway, our Fundraising page has gone live (come and show your support), and I guess this is happening. Over the next month I will be introducing you to our awesome team, so watch this space. 

Hold tight for more information too about how you can get involved in the Getting Back Out there Challenge in May & June. But for now please wish our runners (and me) the best of luck as we train for this mammoth adventure ahead of us.


Julie Creffield is the founder of Too Fat to Run and author of the popular book The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running, and this will be her 6th full marathon

Please show your support by donating to our TFTR team fundraising page,

  • £35 could provide a girl in Cameroon with a dignity kit containing soap, underwear and reusable sanitary towels, enabling her to manage her period safely and with dignity and to ensure she does not miss out on her education now that schools are open. 

  • £50 could provide a family of five living in a camp for people displaced by conflict in North East Nigeria with a food relief package to last a month, ensuring the family do not go hungry and that the children do not return to school on an empty stomach. 

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And if you would like to consider joining the TFTR team, please email 


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