A Linton teacher will run the London Marathon in a fortnight to raise money for a charity supporting a country that has grown close to his heart.
Tony Kelly, 52, from Rivey Close, will cover the 26.2 mile distance for the first time as he aims to raise cash for the Joliba Trust and their work with the Dogon communities in Mali – one of the three poorest countries in the world.
The Linton Village College teacher is a member of Saffron Striders and got his place in the UK’s flagship race on April 13 through that club, choosing to support the charity due to his affinity with the west African nation.
“Two years ago, my friend and fellow Saffron Strider James Kew ran the London Marathon in an astonishing time of three hours five minutes,” said Tony.
“Four months later, he was dead, killed in a tragic accident while running on a beautiful summer evening.
“I am so glad that he achieved his dream of running a marathon before he died and I want to take every opportunity that comes along.”
Tony is already over half way to reaching his target of raising £2,000, and says it was that fund raising effort that kept him plodding out the miles through the cold, wet and stormy winter months.
“The fact I was fund raising helped as a motivator that kept me going and when you’ve made a commitment it’s great to have people’s support.
“I have never been to Mali but I have fallen in love with the country through its music and I want to give something back.
“Those who have been to Mali speak of its rich musical and artistic culture and the warmth and hospitality of its people.
“I was privileged to witness some of this hospitality during a visit to the neighbouring Sahel region of Burkina Faso in 2007.”
Tony hopes to complete his first marathon in under four hours. You can make donations online at www.justgiving.com/tonykellylondonmarathon
Joliba means River Niger or ‘riches of life’ in the local language.
The Joliba Trust works with farming and cattle-raising communities to provide low-cost solutions to environmental problems and gives credit to small farmers and artisans, many of them women, to enable them to buy donkey carts or start small businesses.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (April 10) Echo.