Congolese athlete Francois Msafiri runs 500km for charity

Congolese athlete Francois Msafiri, his Manager Enock Rotich, Athletics Kenya Mombasa County Secretary Beatrice Taita Wanzala and Mombasa county Chief Officer for Sports Innocent Mugabe at Treasury Square in Mombasa on June 6, 2021.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi I Nation Media Group

A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has completed a three-day charity run from Nairobi to Mombasa that seeks to raise funds for at least 5, 000 refugee children to access education.

Francois Msafiri, an ultra-marathoner, who is also a long distance runner, covered over 500 kilometres with a view to creating awareness on the situation of refugees in the country.

Mr Msafiri said he is using athletics to raise funds to provide quality education to children living in refugee camps.

He began his journey on Friday at 6.30am in Nairobi and safely arrived in the coastal city some minutes past midday on Sunday.

Congolese athlete runs 500km for charity

He is appealing to well-wishers to support his course to improve the lives of refugees.

“I am in this race to raise funds for refugee children to see them through school. Many are getting early pregnancies, some are into drug abuse and I want to change their story,” Mr Msafiri said.

The athlete said he hoped to cover the entire distance within 40 hours but this was not possible after he suffered muscle pull after the first 300 kilometres.

His manager and coach, Enock Rotich, said he was grateful to have made it to Mombasa.

“We are grateful to have made it in Mombasa after a long and tiresome run. Congratulations to him. We are trying to raise funds to support the refugee children in education and also help nurture their talents. It has been a long journey. We are glad that the security officers manning the roadblocks were of great help even with the curfew,” Mr Rotich said.

He added that the main challenge they faced along the way were the numerous long distance trucks which caused them some delay.

Mombasa Athletics Kenya Secretary Beatrice Taita Mwanzala commended the athlete and asked the county to contribute to his course and also set up a camp to cater for refugees.

County chief officer for sports Innocent Mugabe said they will support Msafiri's course and appreciated his efforts in supporting the needy children.

“We are very happy to receive him and we will be in this course. As a county government, we understand and appreciate his determination, sacrifice and drive. Our county is blessed to be at a low altitude and we will promote athletics given the chance,” Mr Mugabe said.

Mr Msafiri said he came to Kenya in 2010 and has since loved the country.

He, however, said he hopes to someday represent his country in the Olympics.