A Week Like No Other: Race Day

A Week Like No Other: Race Day

Sunday 24th May 2015 had arrived! It felt like a long time ago since I’d struggled to run 3K on a cold February day, around my hometown in Hampshire. Since then, over the course of three months, I’d muddled my way through 14 weeks of marathon training, trying everything from running in layers to gradually upping the distances I was covering. And now on the sixth day of my Ugandan adventure, after experiencing the culture, meeting new people and seeing the projects we were helping to support, it was race day. It was time to run 26.2 miles on the equator in Masaka, in Uganda’s First Ever International Marathon! The Start Line With a mixture of excitement and nerves that morning, I woke up at 4am unable to sleep. I was excited the big day had finally arrived, after months of training, build up and fundraising, but at the same time it was a nerve racking prospect not knowing what it would be like to run over 20 miles in Africa! Luckily the company of the other international runners at breakfast helped steady the nerves. Then with a 7am race start time (to help avoid the Ugandan heat as much as possible) we boarded our matatu which took us to Liberation square at 6am. When we arrived, the square was a buzz of activity with music, warm ups, runners attaching their numbers and photos being taken. Thirty minutes later an announcement was made asking all half marathon and marathon runners to head to the start line. International runners from every continent headed towards the line, as well as local ugandan runners and internationals who lived...
A Week Like No Other: Race Week Part 2

A Week Like No Other: Race Week Part 2

This is the part two of intrepid Uganda International Marathon runner Andy Teale’s blog. Missed part one? Read it here.   It was hard to believe we were already halfway through our six-day adventure in Uganda. In the first three days I’d made new friends, run my first few miles in Africa and been lucky enough to visit two of the projects the marathon was supporting- including the one I was running the marathon for! By this point, the nerves were building. In two days I’d attempt my hardest race to date, 26.2 miles on the equator. But firstly, there are two more excellent days of race week to fill you in on… Day 4: Friday 22nd May – Kids Run Wild Race After a traditional Uganda breakfast, we were heading to Liberation Square for the ‘Kids Run Wild Race’, where the international runners would be helping to marshal the event. It was an opportunity for the kids from the projects, schools and the local area to get involved in a big community event hosted by the Uganda Marathon. There would be races, dancing, entertainment and overall, one big party! We were given a choice of how we’d like to make our way to Liberation Square in the mid morning: we could either jump in a matatu to drive down or use the opportunity as a training run, and jog the 5 kilometers from the camp to the square. Keen to get a few more Ugandan miles under my belt and get used to the terrain and climate, I elected to head to the site on foot, with a...
A Week Like No Other: Race Week Part 1

A Week Like No Other: Race Week Part 1

It was finally time! After thirteen weeks of training, fundraising and blogging, the 18th May had arrived. With my running shoes packed, it was time for this newbie runner to venture to Africa for the first time. With the prospect of taking on only my second ever marathon and it being on the equator (eeekkk!!!), as well as the opportunity to explore a new country and culture, and the jam-packed week the UGM team had lined up…It promised to be ‘a week like no other’…. And it didn’t fail to deliver. In fact…the week surpassed all expectations. Day 1: Tuesday 19th May – Arriving in Masaka, Uganda In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I was suddenly awakened by a thump as the plane touched down. After a fifteen-hour journey from Gatwick Airport, I stepped off the plane. I was finally here. I’d arrived in Uganda! Shortly after I checked through customs and reclaiming my baggage, I was greeted at arrivals warmly by Nick (one of the organisers). He was posted at Entebbe Airport waiting for the international runners to arrive. As I joined a crowd of people, there was an instant buzz of excitement and chatting. Everyone introduced themselves and discussed what event they were doing: the marathon, half marathon or 10K. Once everyone had arrived, we left the airport and boarded a matutu (think Uganda minibus!), which would be taking us from Entebbe to Masaka. The three-hour drive was the perfect opportunity to get to know our fellow runners better as we discussed how we’d got involve with the Uganda Marathon. It quickly began apparent there were runners...

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