Race Report from the First Ever Uganda Marathon!

Race Report from the First Ever Uganda Marathon!

At 7am on Sunday 24th May the gun sounded signalling the start of the first ever Uganda International Marathon in Masaka town. Liberation Square was awash with the white of our official t-shirt, music was blaring, dancing warm ups and an all-round real party atmosphere. As the half marathon and full marathon runners began their steady pace towards the first of the five hills the sea of white in Liberation Square only grew larger as the 10km runners arrived for their start, many of whom never having taken on such a challenge before.     Since the team arrived in town and began arranging this race we have seen Masaka catch the running bug, with evening training sessions inspiring those around town to prepare for the race. A hoped for but unexpected legacy.   The course begins with flat 3km stretch out of Masaka centre down to the small village of Ssazza, a good chance to find your rhythm and adjust to the novel surroundings. The race soon changes  to trail as you turn off the main road and through the surrounding villages. The small dirt trails wind their way past schools, churches in full song and runners found a mixture of bafflement and utter delight amongst the families and local residents they passed along the way. Shortly after the trail starts so also do the hills, two steep hills in quick succession take you high up for utterly stunning views over the surrounding valleys. The second hill is one the athletes are now very familiar with as it leads to our campsite and is followed by one of...

The Very First Uganda International Marathon

…is in the books! And what an event it was. Athletes from every continent competed – with the winner of the 42km race, Martin Ssenabulya crossing the line in 2:45. The 6 day experience itself was described by some participants as “the best week of their life”. So we’re all quite happy with how it went. This is just a quick post to say we are a small, volunteer team – but we’re working as hard as we can to clear up after the event, get race results posted and get all our many heartfelt thanks out. Look out for a full race and event report in the coming days – and until then, thank you SO much for being a part of what has been an amazing, life changing week. The UGM 2015...

What I learned running 21k in Uganda

An out of practice – and unfit – runner takes on the challenge of a half marathon in Uganda. Here’s what happened next. I want to share my thoughts – mainly to reassure, but also to add a note of caution to those runners who haven’t begun(!) their training yet. Photos to come once  we can upload them… Some background: to give you an idea of my mental and physical state before the run. I landed in Uganda at 3am Saturday morning. Spent the day catching up on sleep and emails, and drank a few beers in the evening with the team. On Sunday, we woke up at 6:30am to go and promote the marathon at the 10k run being held in Kampala to celebrate the King’s birthday – it was hot, dusty and tremendous fun: but that’s a story for another time. After 3 hours in a car back to Masaka, my total consumption that day consisted of half a pack of peanuts, a coffee and a pint of milk. Training-wise, I haven’t undertaken a run of more than a mile since last September (and that’s a painful admission to make, given that I am organising a marathon). I’m tipping the scales at 14.5 stone, carrying a bit more weight around my waist than I’d like to admit, and coming off the back of a stag do last weekend that took its toll. My trainers are a lovely pair of Decathlon own brand road shoes – £14.99, thank you very much. All in all – not the preparation for a 13 mile course you’d find in many training manuals....
The personality of community – Sport and Recreation

The personality of community – Sport and Recreation

It’s a freezing December day and I’ve just arrived for a fun run at a small village in Basel Land, Switzerland. Being Australian, naturally, I’m out of my comfort zone! The first thing I notice is that traffic is being redirected from the centre of the village, signage is notifying competitors where registration is and there is a feeling in the air (nothing to do with it being minus 5 degrees) that something special, almost nerve wracking is about to start in the little village. Now we have all felt pre-race nerves, even when we are competing purely as an enthusiast but we have also felt that sense of welcome, excitement and community at a sport and recreation event. This was a small community event but what distinguishes sporting events between other events in my opinion are their ability to attract people into doing something that oddly enough seems crazy, for example: let’s go and run as hard as I can for 17km and while I’m at it my body is fighting below zero tempertaures! There has been plenty of research into the connections between community and sport and recreation participation. Positive impacts on the community include enhanced confidence and self-esteem, empowerment of disadvantaged groups, reduction in crime, generation of employment and income, improved health and environmental conditions and many more. With this in mind it’s clear to see that with the ongoing support of the community towards events and the influx of money that an event can bring to a community there are many positive direct and indirect outcomes. If this much excitement and positivity can be generated...

Homosexuality in Uganda

A topic that has arisen on more than one occasion as we talk to people about the Uganda Marathon is the attitudes to homosexuality in the country. In the last few years, Uganda has received a fair amount of bad press in this area, largely due to the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act. What didn’t receive nearly as much press attention was news of the act being overthrown by the courts in 2014. The Uganda Marathon is not a political organisation, we are a social enterprise that is completely concerned with the people and communities of Uganda. These are the people and communities where many rejoiced at the successful overturning of Anti-Homosexuality Act and are entirely unconcerned about who you love, so long as you show the same respect as you would in any other country. So if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and considering joining us for this great adventure, read this first hand account from our very own Lizzie Wright, who has spent a great deal of time in Uganda, and let that inform your decision. I think it’s fair to say that the Brits are culturally pretty uptight about public displays of affection- not least when it comes to displays amongst those of the same sex. As with many places across the world it is common in Uganda to see men holding hands. They hug for longer than most of our man folk would find comfortable. They sit with their hands on each other’s legs. Culture is never failing in its unique and fascinating manifestation. Think of the current debate around breastfeeding, a debate which whenever I’ve shared with a Ugandan...
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