The Road to Uganda: A Newbie’s Marathon Training Diary

The Road to Uganda: A Newbie’s Marathon Training Diary

By Andy Teale Week 1- Ahhh!!! I’m Running Uganda’s First International Marathon!! 62 days. 3 hours. 53 minutes. 7 seconds…. That’s how long (at the time of writing) until I run Uganda’s first ever international marathon on 24th May. In two months, I’ll be taking on the equator’s heat, the African sun, the off road dusty terrain and remaining mud from the Uganda’s rainy season; all over a full 26 mile marathon course. And that makes me feel slightly nervous in all honesty! I’m starting to feel the clock ticking as the weeks go by now… As one of the less experienced runners taking part in the event, I’ve volunteered to write a weekly training blog on behalf of the UGM (Uganda Marathon) team. I’ll be sharing my weekly training experiences, the highs and the lows in training, and my feelings in anticipation of the big day. With only one marathon under my belt, and before that my only other running experience being part of my university’s athletics team, running a more modest 800 meters, I’m relatively new to these big, long distance running events. I’m still learning how to prepare for them and even run them! Therefore I’ll also be blogging about the different things I’m trying in order to make sure I’m fully prepared for the UGM. What has worked for me, and what hasn’t. Who knows….maybe I might come up with something to benefit your training programme! At the very least, I hope to spur you on and keep you motivated in your marathon/half marathon/relay training, especially if you’re a newbie like me. The Story (of...
Diary of a UGM Runner in Training – Week 3

Diary of a UGM Runner in Training – Week 3

By Paul Lacey Ruin or Redemption… So it was on. Father vs Son. The Kingston 20 miler. We both knew going into the race that our training had been similar (until recently, not nearly enough of it). We both knew our target pace was the same – sub 7 min/mile. We both knew each other’s strengths: my speed vs his endurance. Nervous on the start line, we hugged with the appropriate manly pats on the back and wished each other all the best, knowing that we were about to push each other to our limits. The gun fired. Somehow in the blink of an eye he had put 20 meters into me. Wow this was an aggressive start! If your strengths in a race are more suited to endurance over speed, this is tactic to race. Start hard, and keep the pace uncomfortably high for the duration to kill the speed in the faster guy’s legs. Conversely, my plan was a slower start then wind up the pace, and utilise my speed in the last few miles to kick past him. This was how the race unfolded for the first ten miles; I kept discipline and held back, watching my dad in the distance. My dad kept up a strong pace. At 10 I decided to close the gap and see if he was weakening. In between 12 and 13 I pulled alongside and I could see he was struggling. I took my chance and kicked. For the next 8 miles I wound up the pace. Far from struggling from the early kick I finished the race faster and...
What you can expect from Masaka – An exceptional Town in the green hills of Lake Victoria

What you can expect from Masaka – An exceptional Town in the green hills of Lake Victoria

By Lizzie Wright Some of you reading this right now will be coming to join us in Masaka for the Uganda International Marathon, some may be thinking about it, whilst some of you would never do a silly think like run a marathon in Africa! I would imagine however that the most of you have never before heard of Masaka. The reason why Masaka became the location of the Uganda Marathon is because, despite it’s amazing community and phenomenal beauty, it’s often missed on the traditional tourism routes though Uganda. Having been here for just over a month now we are starting to realise that that has to change! Situated amongst the green hills of Lake Victoria, Masaka is a an extremely vibrant little place, with friendly people and plenty to keep you occupied while you’re here… The coffee house and lounge, Plot 99 is an initiative of UGoGreen and uses its profits for sustainable charity projects within Uganda. Whilst you’re here you can spend many a wonderful afternoon here, taking advantage of the free WIFI and meeting lots of interesting people involved in initiatives all over Masaka. It’s great coffee, all day breakfasts and homemade menu will be a perfect way to spoil yourselves during your stay. Nearby, Café Frikadellen also offers a very popular BBQ option with a huge range of salads, fruit, steak, lasagna and kebabs and the owners help to sponsor more than 1000 Ugandan children.  After all this food we often fancy relaxing around the camp fire at the lovely B&B Villa Katwe. For more local affairs, T-Tables offers friendly staff, a good game of...
Diary of a UGM Runner in Training – Week 2

Diary of a UGM Runner in Training – Week 2

By Paul Lacey Second Place, a PB, but the old boy awaits me… Wow! I couldn’t have asked for a better first week to my training. I may be sat here with mild cramp hitting my hamstring every five or so minutes but, I did it. Training plan? Kept to it to the letter. Mileage? 55 big Ms.10km race? It went better than I could have ever dreamt. A massive PB AND…..2nd place waaaaahhhhhh!!! My first ever trophy in a race. I’m over the moon! Had you asked my opinion on how the race was going at about 8km, through the grunts, dribble and gurning, you may have been able to pick out me attempting to communicate that the pace was absurd, and that I harboured genuine concerns about my health. But as with all flat out, 100% effort, soul searching races – it was so so so worth it! Now, let us not get carried away here Lacey. You did well. Give yourself a pat on the back….but you’ve got much bigger (and older) fish to fry. Next Sunday I will race the Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run 20 miler. Yet another fantastic test race – my goal is sub 7 minutes per mile, slightly slower than (UK) target marathon pace. And who is going to be there? THE OLD MAN!!!!!!! That’s right he’s racing too. The first race between us since he marginally beat me (destroyed me) at the Brighton Marathon last year. “So Dad, what’s your target?” “You” “Oh good” Game. On. What a race this is going to be. Lacey vs Lacey. Youth(ish) vs experience. Speed...
Introducing the Masaka Deaf School SNE

Introducing the Masaka Deaf School SNE

How could you not support these wonderfully happy kids? Especially when you know they are all deaf and the world would have been a completely silent place if it hadn’t been for the Masaka School SNE. You walk into the Masaka School SNE and are immediately drawn into the energy of the both the teaching staff and the kids that swarm you. After playing in the playground chasing kids around for an hour, you suddenly notice that the place is almost silent but all the kids are chatting away perfectly happily in sign language. The Masaka School SNE teaches students sign from the moment they come to board at the school and they have a dedicated team of hearing and non hearing teachers who support this. The kids are unsurprisingly very keen to learn and can be as close as you can be to fluent in this continuously developing language within 4 weeks! While I was there a new sign for Liverpool football club was created! As in many countries the disabled community within Uganda has been marginalised and open to stigma for generations but within this centre you get a real sense for how this attitude is changing for the better. I was fortunate to witness this wave of change at the schools world record attempt for the most amount of people signing across the world in the Sign2Sing event on the 19th Feb 2015. 660 Ugandans gathered in Masaka and signed 3 songs with a further 1,500 people watching on.   What’s even better is that you are going to be helping to reduce stigma and provide...

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