The Uganda International Marathon Story
The Uganda International Marathon was the brainchild of Henry, Andy, Nick and Moses. Four old friends who came together to improve the lives of the vulnerable in the Masaka region of Uganda.
They wanted to create a way to show people from all over the world the beauty of Uganda, the fantastic warm, friendly welcome of its people and the amazing story of hope and promise in the country.
Since the inaugural race in May 2015, the Marathon has become the largest public fundraiser in Ugandan history and the premier race in East Africa. We have gained the full support of the Ugandan government, several large charities and NGOs working in the country, hundreds of runners and adventurers and – most importantly – the local community of Masaka.
Over the years, the marathon has attracted thousands of runners to Masaka, to try their hand at the course. The total money raised for charity by the event is well over $500,000
Winning Best International Event at the 2016 Running Awards, Best Marathon in Africa from RAD Magazine, and nominated for Best for Poverty Reduction at the World Responsible Tourism Awards have been highlights over the past 12 months!
We’re on a mission to help the people of Uganda help themselves – using running and volunteering as a catalyst for change.
Join us on the journey – here’s who we are:
Meet the teams from the UK & Uganda
The UK Team
The organisation and growth of The Uganda Marathon is thanks to an incredible group of dedicated people, based within the UK. Whilst they work in London throughout most of the year, you’ll get to know them very well in Masaka during the event!
Co-Founder & Director
Henry has been bringing volunteers to Africa to raise money and see their impact for nearly a decade. After a spell on a career path that was taking him to tax accountancy, Henry quit his London city job to start The Uganda Marathon and change communities in Masaka for good.
As Director, Henry leads the Uganda Marathon team. His knowledge and experience has enabled the marathon event to become both a life-changing experience for the people involved and also Uganda’s largest fundraising event in history.
Co-Founder & Marketing
Andy has a fantastically strong background in marketing, having worked for several years with marketing consultancies, advising top companies on marketing strategies and campaigns. Andy quit his London job to start The Uganda Marathon and leave a lasting impact on communities in Masaka.
Andy is responsible for marketing The Uganda Marathon event internationally. He’s the reason that 180 crazy people from around the world hear about the marathon and come and join for the best week ever!
Szilvi is originally from Hungary but has been living in London for the last 8 years. Both her and her husband are fervent adventurers, most weekends you’ll find them in some corner of the world, exploring the countryside and enjoying nature. She took part in the 2017 Uganda Marathon and has since joined the team as a volunteer. When she’s not volunteering her time for the Uganda Marathon then she’s working as a personal assistant for a multinational company.
Szilvi is in charge of communicating with the amazing runners who join the Uganda Marathon. She passes on a wealth of travelling knowledge and will be your first point of contact in the run-up to and during the event.
Kate has an incredibly strong background in charity, having worked for several years in the 3rd sector. She has a bottomless well of professional positivity and an adventurous streak that recently saw her stand up paddleboarding the longest river in the EU, the Danube. Alongside the Uganda Marathon, Kate is qualifying to become a PT and is currently training for a half Iron Man.
Kate has been pivotal in reshaping how the Uganda Marathon works with its partners. Within our rapid expansion, she has helped us properly control the way that we work with our charity partners. Her work has enabled us to be fully transparent with the way that we spend your fundraising, ensuring that we are always heading towards sustainable projects.
Content & Marketing Manager
Andy was one of the runners from the very first Uganda Marathon. Andy is usually busy on a Sunday morning as he’s got a race somewhere in the country, he’s developed a love for running and sets himself personal challenges throughout the year. The UGM team is extremely lucky to have his time as he also has a full-time job working as a project manager.
Andy is a fantastic wordsmith, he writes and manages the Uganda Marathon blog and much of the Social Media. His imagination and way with words paints wonderfully vivid pictures of what being in Uganda as part of the race week is like, whether you’re already involved or thinking about signing up, you should definitely check out his work.
UGM Running Coach
Mark was the fastest international runner for the first ever Uganda Marathon. He’s a qualified running coach but more so, a passionate and extremely experienced marathoner. Mark has an undying love for parkruns and has even been known to book his holidays around countries that have them. Although an avid runner, you’ll still find him propping up the bar most nights in the Athletes’ Village.
Mark is extremely generous in giving up his time for the Uganda Marathon, alongside a full-time job and running coaching. He is on hand to offer his wisdom to UGM runners so feel free to ask any questions you might have about training, equipment or marathon prep. For all UK based runners, Mark organises the training runs to help you keep on track, feel free to chat to him about a UGM rate for 1 on 1 sessions.
Ian took part in the first ever Uganda Marathon and had to have his leg strapped and re-strapped at every medic station. He tells the story of his doctor laughing when he asked if he could take part in the race but sheer will and determination got him round. Ian also runs an online coffee company, importing incredible coffee from all around the world. During the race week, Ian runs the hotel accommodation. For those who are staying in the hotel, Ian will be your main point of contact so you’ll get to know him very well throughout the event. Ian was also responsible for the design and construction of the hygenic and eco-friendly campsite toilets and showers, a point of pride in his career.
The Uganda Team
The Uganda Marathon has a year-round, permanent presence in Uganda. This is to make sure that the race is fully part of the Ugandan community and that your fundraising is properly spent to create sustainable charity projects.
Lizzie has over 6 years experience in Ghana and Uganda, working on projects in sustainable travel, tourism and events management. This has included running eco lodges and growing corporate social responsibility programs.
Lizzie has a love for Africa and has lived there most of her adult life – her job is to make the Uganda Marathon week happen and show you exactly why she loves Uganda so much! She manages hundreds of different connections and contractors to make sure that the week runs smoothly (in particular, making sure that the bar is open at 3pm sharp!)
Community Partnerships Manager
Andy has been with the Uganda Marathon since the very beginning! There are now very few NGOs in Masaka who he doesn’t know personally and he has huge respect from the community and its leaders. Recently, Andy opened his own fish farm & restaurant in the area on a plot of land that he owns. Before joining the UGM team, Andy worked with youth projects in London and he’s also a professional clown.
Without his amazing work, The Uganda Marathon could not have a fraction of the impact on the community that we do. As the community partnership manager, Andy works with all of our charity partners – he supports them in creating sustainable projects and ensures that all your amazing fundraising has the biggest impact.
Assistant Community Partnership Manager
Before joining the marathon full time, Tom worked for CHEDRA – a local NGO in Masaka tackling the wide-ranging effects of HIV on the Masaka community. We were first given Tom’s time to help us set up the marathon partners in the area however, he proved himself indispensable to the event and so he’s now a permanent member of the UGM team. Tom loves swimming, running, hiking & cracking jokes, as well as feeling “privileged to work with and help vulnerable people in his local community every day”.
Tom works with Andy Bownds to connect and maintain relationships with our charity partners. He helps to ensure that every bit of your fundraised money works as hard as possible to create amazing change in the community.
Monitoring Learning & Evaluation Officer
Whilst Edna has always been interested in banking, she has felt that she has more to offer in this life. Her passion to work for a greater sustainable community drove her to work with the vulnerable and disadvantaged, to make people’s lives better and be an inspiration to others.
Edna’s role is to fully understand the impact that your fundraising is having on the community in Masaka, and to make sure that we are constantly learning and improving. The professionalism, charisma, and enthusiasm that she brings to the team will help our work move from strength to strength.
Saidi was born in Uganda and from Naguru in Kampala, he joined the Uganda Marathon event team out of a passion for helping disadvantaged communities through sports. As well as running Saidi’s love is rugby, he’s a qualified rugby coach and works as a youth rugby developer in Eastern Uganda.
Saidi is part of the Uganda Marathon event team, without them, the event could not take place. You’ll get to know him very well during the adventure week as he shows you his home country.
Esther was born in Uganda and from Rubaga in Kampala. She recently graduated from the university with a degree in tourism and now works as a manager at the guinea fowl guesthouse in Entebbe. Her love for creating impact in disadvantaged communities made her join the marathon.
Esther is part of the Uganda Marathon event team, without them, the event could not take place. You’ll get to know her very well during the adventure week as she shows you her home country.
Faridah came and ran the first ever Uganda Marathon with a team from a local community project. She has a bachelor’s of commerce in accounting and has also spent time working in a bookshop since 2005. Faridah is passionate about helping disadvantaged communities. She loves swimming and has a little baby boy called Andy.
Faridah is part of the Uganda Marathon event team, without them, the event could not take place. You’ll get to know her very well during the adventure week as she shows you her home country.
Henry Wamboko joined the Uganda Marathon event team after studying Tourism at Makerere University. Henry is a great footballer and also loves running and farming. He was compelled to join the Uganda International marathon event team through his desire to impact positive change in the lives of the disadvantaged children and the elderly.
Henry is part of the Uganda Marathon event team, without them, the event could not take place. You’ll get to know him very well during the adventure week as he shows you his home country.
The Uganda Marathon Board of Directors
Our board of directors are made up of representatives from the community and the charity organisations that we work with. They make key decisions on the sustainable projects we work with and your money that has been raised as part of the event.
Moses is the director of CHEDRA, an organisation that is committed to tackling the widespread effects of HIV & AIDS on the local Masaka community.
John is the director of Youth With A Vision, an organisation dedicated to defending the rights of disadvantaged children in Masaka by providing education, care and support.