Mary’s Meals Quadrathlete keen for hill training in Kenya

Elfreda Whitty and Kirsty Norris both work as Programme Officers for Mary’s Meals, so they’ve seen first-hand the difference that fundraising events like The Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon can make. The pair have signed up to take on The Quadrathlon this year and, despite time-consuming field trips, have already begun training and fundraising with enthusiasm. 

Elfreda spent some time in Kenya last month. On her return, she told us about her efforts to keep on top of her preparation, saying: “My latest field visit made training a little problematic. During the trip I visited the region of Turkana in north-west Kenya, an arid land with daily temperatures of 40 degrees or above. The region has been hit hard by drought and rising food insecurity.” 

Elfreda was staying in the town of Lodwar, which is the administrative capital of Turkana County, and despite visiting many of the fifty nursery schools where Mary’s Meals are provided, she still found time to catch up on her training. Elfreda told us: “It was March when I visited, the hottest time of year running up to the rainy season, which should start in April, but is not guaranteed, leading to lack of food and water. 

“There was a hill just behind my guest house and the daily climb was my way to keep up my training for the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon. It was a short but steep hill and so I decided to treat it as some good interval training. Considering the heat, I’m sure a Munro during the Scottish summer will be a breeze!” 

Although Elfreda sounds full of confidence, she had to draw the line at practising kayaking or swimming. “Lake Turkana was close by but I quickly dismissed going for a wee swim or kayak when I heard it was infested with crocodiles,” she explained. 

Now that she is back in Scotland she has been swimming outdoors in different lochs where, thankfully, there are no crocodiles, although there may be a Loch Ness Monster. 

She and Kirsty will be training together as well, on the bikes and on foot. Their team name “The Tubs” is a reference to Tubmanburg — the town where Mary’s Meals Liberia has its base.

It seems that what she saw in Kenya will help Elfreda keep up her training momentum. She said: “I think about the Turkana people’s great resilience and how readily accessible food and water should never be taken for granted. 

“I am so glad that Mary’s Meals is helping more than 996,000 of the world’s poorest children with a daily meal in school, where they will gain an education that can be their route out of poverty.”

The Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon is an annual endurance event that takes place in the Scottish Highlands, comprising a 0.8 mile loch swim, a 15 mile walk over seven Munros, a seven mile kayak, and a 34 mile cycle. Participants raise funds for both Mary’s Meals and Mercy Corps. For more information, visit http://www.artemisgreatkindrochit.com/

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