Nova Scotia

Halifax woman prepares for big Gambia run

As thousands of Nova Scotians recover from running in Bluenose Marathon events, a Halifax woman is preparing to run 17 half-marathons in 17 days — in Gambia­.

17 half-marathons in 17 days to raise money

Jennifer Pasiciel starts her journey next month. (CBC)

As thousands of Nova Scotians recover from running in the Blue Nose Marathon events, a Halifax woman is preparing to run 17 half-marathons in 17 days — in Gambia­.

Jennifer Pasiciel will attempt the run next month to raise money to help the impoverished African country. It will total more than eight full marathons.

"When I think about it, when I break it down, it will be 25 kilometers a day, which is a big difference from a marathon," she said.

"I will have that rest and recovery every day. I won't be doing work or school. Just focus on running every day and push through it."

Gambia and Nova Scotia have a long relationship. Many people held in Nova Scotia as slaves centuries ago returned to Gambia after being freed. 

The Nova Scotia Gambia Association keeps those ties alive to this day.

It’s that bond that inspired Pasiciel. She said she usually runs one or two marathons a year.

Support team to fend off lions, snakes

Pasiciel said it has been difficult to train for the heat she will face. She’s also getting assistance to avoid treating the local wildlife to lunch.

"I may be alone for parts of it, but I do have a support team and I will have a support vehicle within five to 10 kilometers," she said.

"If they see a pack of lions, they will warn me, or if they see a snake in the road, they are going to get it off."

She joked the threat will help her run faster.

Health lessons for kids

The Nova Scotia Gambia Association said it is delighted with her fundraising efforts.

Muhammed Ngallan, executive director of the association, said it would help school kids.

"Seeing someone who has never been to the Gambia, from thousands of miles away, committing a whole year of her time to train and raise funds to run for my country, for my brothers and sisters — it means the world to me," he said.

The money raised will help girls in Gambia learn about health issues.

"All the things you know about sexuality, your health, is what you hear from your friends," Ngallan explained.

"If you aren't given the right information, you will grow up risking so many things."

He said the money Pasiciel raises will help deliver information to students so they can make healthy decisions.