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January can be such an exciting time! It’s an opportunity to make exciting plans for the year ahead and ensure it’s a year to remember!

And if you’ve got the urge to do something a little different this year, which involves things like travel, taking on a challenge, meeting new people and making a difference, then the Uganda Marathon – An Adventure Like No Other might be just the answer!

Here are ten reasons to take part in the Uganda Marathon this year…

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

Our slogan, ‘An Adventure Like No Other‘, plays a key part in explaining what the Uganda Marathon is. Yes, the race is a brilliant, special, unforgettable experience, but there’s a lot more to the week as well.

To sum it up in a few lines:

It’s a 7-day festival focused on helping, and connecting with, the Ugandan community. They’ll be visits to grassroots charity projects, including the one you’ve chosen to support.

Plus, it’s the chance to organise a sports day for local children, experiencing the Ugandan culture, explore the local town, experience locally sourced entertainment and make new friends. Then, take on a big challenge at the end – in support of the community you’ve spent the week with!

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#2 Have 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 6 when we hold the race, there’s a great sense of teamwork and camaraderie built amongst the International Runners – everyone really roots for each other to get to the finish!

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

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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 5000 local runners, whilst witnessing stunning views through beautiful rural Uganda, and receive epic support from the local crowds along the way. For example, 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!

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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! All whilst knowing, your hard-earned fundraising is making a difference to the community in the present and in the future!

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 Visit and connect with the very people you’ve been helping!

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Volunteer with those you’ve been fundraising for…and see first-hand how the funds will help their project (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport)

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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 the fundraising. You meet the very people you’re helping and experience the project first-hand!

They’ll be activities to do whilst you’re there as well, allowing you to get hands-on. You’ll tackle these tasks alongside the project’s beneficiaries – another great way to bond with the people you’re running the race for!

You’ll also get to visit a 2nd project during the week and help organise a sports day for local children.

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

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During the week, get hands-on and use your skills to help the local community

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#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 for me to do something different and visit Africa for the first time.

 

#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 stay in contact with each other, which we absolutely love! We’ve even had a few relationships pop up from the marathon week, and the odd wedding proposal as well! ❤️

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#7 Explore the Ugandan Culture

We organise the itinerary for the 7-days to give you the 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.

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Some native dancers perform a traditional Ugandan dance in the evening, whilst the runners relax after a busy day! (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

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#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! Stay right in the heart of the action at Athletes’ Village, ticking off all the basics you need – a private room, bathroom, catering etc, or upgrade to the best Hotel in Masaka for some extra perks, through our Marabou Village or Marabou Exec packages.

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#9 We’ll help!

If fundraising and running a race in Uganda sounds daunting, 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.

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#10 We’ve had great feedback!

And finally, 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 Facebook reviews, or blog featuring interviews with those who have experienced the week for themselves!

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