It’s that time of year again – the weeks start flying by, Christmas rapidly approaches, and the year draws to a close. It’s a time to celebrate, but also a chance to wind down and reflect on the year gone by.

And of course, when looking back, there’s also an exciting emphasis on moving forward and planning the year ahead. With a New Year, comes exciting opportunities…and one of those opportunities is the Uganda Marathon.

So, as you make your exciting plans for 2018, here are ten reasons to include running the Uganda Marathon in your plans…

 

#1 It’s more than a race – it’s a 7-day Adventure!

Don’t be fooled by the title, but pay close attention to the slogan: ‘An Adventure Like No Other’. Yes, the race is a brilliant, special, unforgettable experience, but there’s a lot more to the week as well.

In short, it’s a 7-day festival focused on helping the Ugandan community – it includes volunteering at two different Charity Projects, organising a sports day for local children, experiencing the Ugandan culture, connecting with the local people and taking on a big challenge in support of those people. There is also a big social element to the week as well with locally sourced entertainment each night, and at the very end of the 7-days, a big party to celebrate the week!

Volunteering at the Charity Projects is a big part of the week (Photo Credit: Katie Pegram)

The events of the week are encompassed in a festival – in the evening relax and have drinks around the campfire (Photo Credit: David Altabev)

 

#2 An unforgettable race experience – for all abilities

The focus of the race is very much on using the challenge to help the local people and as a result, it has a great community feel to it. By this point, Day 7, there’s also a great sense of teamwork and camaraderie amongst the International Runners from experiencing so much – everyone really roots for each other to get to the finish!

 

Here, the runners who have finished the race, wait on the home straight to clap and support their fellow runners in!

The event is very much open to all abilities too, as we have a 10K, 21K (half-marathon) and 42K (marathon) course on offer. We welcome a range of experience – in the past, we’ve had everyone from seasoned trail runners, to those running their first-ever race to keen hikers walking the course. It really is about choosing the distance you feel comfortable with, being determined, doing your best and having fun!

Whichever distance you choose, we promise you’ll have an unforgettable race experience with 3000 local runners, whilst witnessing stunning views through beautiful rural Uganda and receiving epic support from the local crowds along the way. Also, don’t be surprised to receive some high-fives from the local children and even get some joining you for a portion of the race!

Uganda is a beautiful country to run in with stunning views

 

#3 Fundraise to make a REAL difference to a community…

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to do something to ‘give back’, then this is a great opportunity. The Ugandan Marathon operates a unique model where every pound/dollar/euro you raise goes to supporting the causes you care about, and in a sustainable, long-term way! Choose your cause from our selection of Charity Projects depending on which resonates with you the most (eg. education, the elderly, disabilities, empowering women), then fundraise to make your impact, knowing your hard-earned fundraising is making a difference to the community in the present and in the long-term!

It’s also really important to us that your fundraising is fun and inspired, rather than a chore. Therefore, there’s no minimum fundraising target and also the option to fundraise for a charity of your choice alongside the Ugandan project (with up to a 50:50 split).

Whilst fundraising does represent a challenge in itself, many of our past participants have commented on what a fun and rewarding experience it is, and glad they decided to do it.

 

#4 Then, volunteer and connect with the very people you’ve been helping!

Volunteer with those you’ve been fundraising for…and see just how the funds will help their community (Photo Credit: Dave Cornthwaite)

One of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of the 7-Day Adventure is after spending many weeks fundraising, you actually get the chance to visit the Charity Projects you’ve been helping (via fundraising) and meet the people there whilst volunteering. It’s through volunteering side-by-side with the people, that you get to really connect with the community and get to know the very people you’re running the race for!

You’ll also get to volunteer at another project and help organise a sports day for local children. Essentially, the week is about getting involved, hands-on and making a difference!

As well as volunteering at the projects, you’ll also get to organise a sports day for local children (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

Get hands-on and help out at the Charity Projects (Photo Credit: David Alterbev)

 

#5 Travel and have new experiences

On every good bucket list is something along the lines of ‘travel more’ and the Uganda Marathon represents a great opportunity to do just that, especially if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track. It’s also a great opportunity to travel to Africa!

For me personally, when I signed up in 2015, the 7-Day Adventure presented an opportunity to do something different and travel somewhere completely new, all whilst in the company of a group.

 

#6 Make new friends and join a community

Again, a common New Year’s resolution is ‘meet new people’ and our event gives you a brilliant opportunity to do just that!

Firstly, you’ll travel to Ugandan and spend the week with 150 fellow International Runners, all signed up with similar motivations to yourself. Our International Runners also tend to be from a variety of backgrounds, professions and countries – so be prepared to have your horizons broadened! Finally, you’ll be volunteering with the local community and also get the chance to run with the local running club…again another great chance to make some inspiring friendships amongst the Ugandan community!

Friendship from the week tend to last too – there are numerous reunions and alumni runners tend to stay in contact. We’ve even had a few relationships over the years! We’re really pleased to see the Uganda Marathon community growing year on year, and people staying in touch!

The group of International Runners at our 2015 event, with our core team (Photo Credit: David Alterbev)

 

#7 Explore the Ugandan Culture

We organise the itinerary for the 7-days to give you most authentic Ugandan experience possible. From trying the local foods to showing you local entertainers, to exploring the town and learning customs. We even arrange the week’s training runs with the local running club!

When the week comes to a close, we really want you to feel like you’ve had the ‘African experience’ and gotten to know the special community you’ve committed to helping.

Some native dancers perform a traditional Ugandan dance as one of the evening’s entertainment (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

 

#8 We’ve got various accommodation options – you choose what’s right for you!

In terms of where you stay for the week, you choose! Camp (or Glamp) in the beautiful hills of Uganda at our Athletes’ Village, or stay in the best hotel in Masaka for the home comforts. Tailer the experience as you see fit.

 

#9 We’ll help!

If fundraising and running a race in Uganda is sounding a little overwhelming, don’t forget our friendly, expert team is here to help. From sign up questions to travel advice, to fundraising and training tips, our experienced team is on hand. We’ve also got lots of handy information prepared from previous runner questions and they’ll be plenty of support in the build-up to the event and of course, in Ugandan itself.

And if you live in the London area, we’ll be holding some social training run sessions – designed to be fun and for all abilities. They’re also brilliant for meeting fellow runners before flying to Uganda!

 

#10 We’ve had great feedback!

Since the event began in 2015, we’re extremely proud to have had brilliant feedback from our participants. For example, 1 in 5 of our past runners described the event as ‘the best week of my life’ and in 2016 we were voted ‘Best International Event’ at the UK Running Awards.

If you’re thinking about joining us in Uganda – why not check out our runner gallery or blog featuring interviews with those who have experienced the week for themselves!

 

From all the team, we wish you an exciting and prosperous New Year, and as you make your exciting plans, if these reasons have resonated with you, we’d love to see you in Uganda in June 2018! 🙂

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