Interview with a UGM Runner: Jean-Louis Button

Interview with a UGM Runner: Jean-Louis Button

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Jean-Louis (JL) was one of our first participants to join us on the adventure whilst still attending university. Below he tells us about signing up and juggling the costs of uni, what Ugandan project he chose to fundraise for and why, and also about his visit to Eco Brixs – a recycling initiative trying to deal with the problem of plastic waste in rural Uganda. Describing it as a “once in a lifetime trip”, here’s his account of the week…     1. What made you sign up to the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? I was looking for my next sporting challenge online, tempting with the idea of an ultra marathon, but I then stumbled across an advert on Facebook advertising the Ugandan Marathon and how it was a “race like no other”. As I’m someone who really enjoys volunteering work and also pushing my boundaries, I thought this sounded too good to be true! Once I checked out a few videos on YouTube and read some reviews from other runners, I was sold! As I am a student and always tight on money, it did take me a little while to commit to the project initially. But after sending a few emails to the lovely guys and girls at the Uganda Marathon...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Phil Sutcliffe

Interview with a UGM Runner – Phil Sutcliffe

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Phil joined us from the English Midlands to take part in the event. A teacher and keen runner, he shares his insights of Race Day and what made him decide to sign up to the event. He also tells us about what it was like to attend the event solo, and how he made his decision of which Charity Project to support! . . 1. What made you sign up to the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? I put in my annual London Marathon ballot place entry as usual last year, and when I didn’t get a place, yet again, I thought I would look at doing a more interesting and challenging marathon elsewhere. This marathon had popped up on my Facebook timeline a few times and I thought it looked fascinating. It seemed to offer so much- a challenging run, a chance to get to know and understand a bit more about how another society/culture worked, and a chance to meet some like-minded people and to do something that benefitted a local community. I felt that I would be making a more lasting impact than I would on another flat big city marathon. It also just about fitted in to the UK Spring Bank Holiday leave period, so I knew I would be...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Alex Stezhkin

Interview with a UGM Runner – Alex Stezhkin

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Alex joined us as our first-ever participant from Russia, and had previously run an inspiring 27 marathons! Below he tells us about why he loved the week, why it stood out for him from the other marathons he’s participated in, and what his favourite memories were! As Alex puts it: “It’s the opportunity to dive into a completely different world.”     1. What made you sign up to the Uganda Marathon? I love travelling. It’s my passion. I prefer interesting (let’s say – unusual) destinations to travel to. I also love running, especially long distances because running for me is the way to put my thoughts in order and the way to challenge my limits. I found out about the Uganda Marathon from Instagram which is the only social network I use frequently. It actually took me about two months to decide that I wanted to participate, but eventually I decided to do it for several reasons. First of all, I understood that it is not only about running. It is about people, empathy and willingness to help. Secondly, it seemed an amazing opportunity for me to visit such an exotic country and to explore a completely different world. I have never been to Africa before except Tunisia and RSA, so I was really excited by...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Alyssa Yell

Interview with a UGM Runner – Alyssa Yell

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Alyssa participated in the Uganda Marathon to complete a very special challenge: running a marathon on each of the world’s seven continents! Choosing our event over several other renowned African races, she tells us about her experiences from the week and getting to know the Ugandan culture in her first-ever trip to Africa. She also loved her time on our safari and gorilla trekking tours, from which she shares some breath-taking photos with us!     1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon? In March of 2016, I set a goal to run a marathon on every continent. I returned from the Antarctica Marathon and had completed the logistically hardest race, so I figured I might as well run the rest of the world! I knocked out the other continents in no particular order, and Africa was my final continent to complete a marathon on. There were so many African races to choose from — running in the Maasai, running in the Serengeti, running in Madagascar, running in major South African cities — but the 2019 Uganda Marathon stood out the most. I loved the principles of giving back to the community, leaving a legacy for generations to come, and finishing up a week of physical work with a marathon. I wanted to be...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Emma Fitzgerald

Interview with a UGM Runner – Emma Fitzgerald

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Emma described her Uganda Marathon experience as, “It was unlike any trip I’ve ever been on before.” During the week, she especially enjoyed her visit to the project Scope, which gave her insight into schools in Uganda – something she found especially interesting as she works in the education sector. Below she tells us about this and the other projects she visited during the week. Plus, her emotional experience of completing her first-ever marathon!       1. What made you sign up to the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? The first I heard about the Uganda Marathon was when I saw a post on social media from someone in my local running club saying that they had signed up. It sounded interesting but it was unlike anything I’d ever done before. The more I researched the event, the more I started to think that maybe this was something I could do. I am so glad I decided to go for it! It was 100% a good decision. The whole week lived up to everything the team had talked about online and the experience was even better than I had expected. I was overwhelmed by how welcome we were made to feel, from the moment we arrived. The week was jam-packed full of activities...
The Official Uganda Marathon – An Adventure Like No Other 2019 Race Results!

The Official Uganda Marathon – An Adventure Like No Other 2019 Race Results!

The Official Uganda Marathon - An Adventure Like No Other - 2019 Race Results! All the action from the week The Uganda Marathon is a week long festival 200 participants from all over the world came together in one small town in Uganda. Masaka – the home of The Uganda Marathon. For one week, these legends learn about the hopes, challenges and dreams of the community here. Spending time working with local community projects. Seeing firsthand how their support is changing lives. Getting under the skin of what life is like in Uganda, and becoming part of the family here. Culminating in a Race Like No Other After a week of intense activity – of participants challenging themselves, working hard alongside the community, and an endless supply of dance, music, food and art – it’s time for the race. A tough, but rewarding course. 10k, 21k or 42k of rolling red earth tracks. Across hills and valleys. 5,150 runners – from Uganda and across the world – coming together. To run shoulder to shoulder. Laughing and smiling. This isn’t a race about personal bests. It’s a celebration of community and helping one another. Our last runner crossed the line in 9 hours 30 minutes. And we waited to cheer them across the line. Because The Uganda Marathon isn’t about how fast you can run, it’s about how much you can experience. How many people you can help. Which means that the most important result is this.. The amazing runners and participants in The 2019 Uganda Marathon have raised £164,130! That’s 15 fully funded sustainable community development projects. Plus classrooms,...
The UGM Runners’ Blog: Tapering Tips

The UGM Runners’ Blog: Tapering Tips

Welcome to the Uganda Marathon Runners’ Blog! Our series of blogs dedicated to our participants preparing to take part in this year’s event. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share suggestions to help in your preparations for the 7-Day adventure, from training tips to fundraising and travel advice. Written by a former participant, these blogs are all about supporting our group of 2019 runners – please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or topic suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!   There are just under 4 weeks to go until Race Day, so it’s time to start thinking about a key ingredient to any training plan: Tapering. This is essentially where, as your event approaches, in the final stretch of your training you run less and rest more! Some runners feel quite uneasy about this, especially after months of training hard, as they don’t want to lose any well-earned fitness before Race Day. However, there are a lot of reasons to embrace tapering. Firstly, you won’t lose any significant fitness by decreasing your mileage at this point, and resting now will actually turn you into a stronger runner as your body is allowed time to heal. Furthermore, decreasing your mileage will reduce the chances of picking up an injury or getting ill (eg. catching a cold) with the event getting close now. And perhaps the best news of all: an average performance improves by 3 percent from good tapering. That can equal 5-10 minutes off a marathon time and a minute off a 10K! Like many things in running though, it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ and training plans...
The UGM Runners’ Blog: Using Hill Training in Your Preparation for Uganda

The UGM Runners’ Blog: Using Hill Training in Your Preparation for Uganda

Welcome to the Uganda Marathon Runners’ Blog! Our series of blogs dedicated to our participants preparing to take part in this year’s event. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share suggestions to help in your preparations for the 7-Day adventure, from training tips to fundraising and travel advice. Written by a former participant, these blogs are all about supporting our group of 2019 runners – please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or topic suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!   When I trained for the Uganda Marathon in 2015, I was relatively new to the world of running – my training mainly focused solely on upping the distance of my long runs week-by-week, with some shorter runs in between, gradually building my weekly mileage. However, as I became more familiar with what the course in Uganda entailed, I knew I needed to (somehow) recreate the conditions as best I could in the UK. One of those key conditions, aside from the heat and trail paths, was the elevations and descents. From that point on, I tried to gradually introduce hill training into my preparations, and it really paid off come Race Day! And that’s what this post is all about – hill training and how to include it in your training!   The Why- The Ups and Downs of Running in Uganda So, why would I recommend adding in some hill training sessions into your prep for Uganda? Well…(and I hope I’m not breaking this to you for the first time)…but the course is well, hilly. There’s a lot of elevations and descents, so the more practice you can get...
The UGM Runners’ Blog: Top Tips for Kicking off your Fundraising

The UGM Runners’ Blog: Top Tips for Kicking off your Fundraising

  Welcome to the Uganda Marathon Runners’ Blog! Our series of blogs dedicated to our participants preparing to take part in this year’s event. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share suggestions to help in your preparations for the 7-Day adventure, from training tips to fundraising and travel advice. Written by a former participant, these blogs are all about supporting our group of 2019 runners – please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or topic suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!   The 2019 edition of the Uganda Marathon aims to fundraise more for our partnered Charity Projects than ever before, and leave an even bigger impact in Masaka! And the key to that… YOU! Our incredible bunch of 2019 International Runners. Many of you have already started fundraising which is amazing! But if you haven’t yet, with now just under 100 days to go until Race Day, what better time to start? Whether you’ve already begun and you’re looking for some more ideas to mix things up, or you’re yet to set up your online fundraising page, here are 9 tips to get your fundraising off to a great start…     1. Getting started – chose your cause! As with anything, the hardest part can often just be getting started. But once you do, it won’t be long before those donations start rolling in! The first step in your fundraising is a simple one – from our selection of projects, choose the top three which resonate the most with you. Think about the causes which align with your passions, as this will give you added motivation...
How you make a difference and leave a legacy!

How you make a difference and leave a legacy!

There have been several scandals recently highlighting the dangers of poorly managed overseas aid work. From Oxfam – one of the world’s largest charities – being involved in misconduct, to the BBC recently reporting on the mismanagement of orphanages and foster homes in Uganda itself. Here at The Uganda Marathon, we’re incredibly proud of our approach to helping the communities we work with and support. Offering a hand up, not a hand out. We take our lead from the local communities we serve, not the other way round. And we’re extremely passionate about fighting poor practice – especially orphanages. There are a very few number of legitimate orphanages in Uganda. It is a sad fact that some unscrupulous people see children as a means of making money, rather than as incredible but vulnerable people who need fostering and rehabilitation back to their family to thrive. Orphanages are, sadly, big business – and many actively encourage mothers and guardians to place their children with them to increase foreign aid / donations.  Our community partnerships manager, Andy Bownds, shares his thoughts on how we discourage such behaviour below.   ” I am based in Masaka full time and work alongside 6 other full time Ugandan staff and a 4 strong Ugandan board. Who are dedicated not only to ensuring that you have the best possible visit to Uganda but also leave an incredible positive legacy! We do this through a strict application, monitoring and evaluation and accountability process. This is how it works: Application Process– All projects that are funded through the marathon go through this level of due diligence. They...

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