UGM Guest Blog: Our Story of the Week – By Sejal Majithia-Jaswal & Ash Jaswal

UGM Guest Blog: Our Story of the Week – By Sejal Majithia-Jaswal & Ash Jaswal

  Following their participating in the seven-day Uganda Marathon adventure, Ash and Sejal kindly agreed to share their experience of Uganda with us. Below, they tell us about the volunteer days, visiting the project they fundraised for, the race, and what they got up to in Uganda both before and after the event – which includes a truly special story!   It’s been a few months since we – Ash and Sejal – completed the Uganda Marathon 2018, and so wanted to share our amazing experience of it. As well as this write-up, you can watch a video of our trip here.   Before the race   We’ve been very fortunate to have travelled widely over the years, but this year, to celebrate a landmark birthday, Sejal wanted to do something very special, somewhere very special. When we heard about the Uganda Marathon, we knew this was it. She, along with her entire extended family had been born in Uganda, her grandparents having settled in this ‘Garden of Eden’ from India in 1917. However, as part of the ‘Asian expulsions’ carried out in 1972 on the orders of the then dictator, Idi Amin, Sejal and her family, alongside around 70,000 other Asians, were forced to leave the country on 90 days’ notice with literally just the clothes on their backs. The vast majority of the Asian community never returned, including Sejal, so this trip was something of an emotional homecoming for her. In fact, on day two of our trip, in the middle of nowhere, we found the small missionary clinic where her mother had given birth to her!  ...
Interview with two UGM Runners – Rachel and Guy

Interview with two UGM Runners – Rachel and Guy

  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. As a challenge for his 40th birthday, Guy (Right) decided to join us for the 7-Day Adventure and run his first half-marathon. Rachel (one from left) signed up as well, originally to spectate, but after some thought, she chose to run the 10K event as well! Below they give a detailed account of their time in Uganda, covering their visit to the projects, KidsRunWild, their pre-week Gorilla trek, and the community spirit of Race Day!     1. What made you both sign up for the Uganda Marathon? Rachel: It was Guy who initially discovered the Uganda Marathon and one day suddenly asked whether I was interested in going! We both love to travel and this seemed like an amazing experience to be part of. Guy had been determined to complete the half marathon as a challenge for his birthday this year but as a less enthusiastic runner, I was originally planning to volunteer and spectate on Race Day. Although I love sport, running has never been my favourite activity!! After discussion with Szilvia and some encouragement, I signed up for the 10km as I wanted to be able to support my chosen charity and knew that I’d regret not being part of the race later on. Guy: As Rachel mentions, I’d wanted to do something...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Rebecca Furmanek

Interview with a UGM Runner – Rebecca Furmanek

  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. Rebecca (above centre), from the USA, had been teaching in Uganda for a year when she joined us for the 7-Day Adventure. Below she chats to us about why she signed up, the volunteer days, the gorilla trek and the race – where at the last minute, she switched from the half-marathon to the 42K, to run her first ever marathon!     1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon? I moved to Mbale, Uganda in the summer of 2017 to teach for a year. I actually just googled “Uganda marathons” and found the race. My school year ended a couple days before having to be in Masaka and didn’t think twice of participating in this once in a lifetime opportunity!   2. What project did you visit on Legacy Day? What was it like to volunteer there? I worked with the Women’s Soroptimists. It was inspiring to visit the women’s prison and hear some of their stories and spend time with them. I enjoyed also working to make the feminine hygiene products as well and seeing how the organization truly makes a difference.   3. Could you tell us about your experience of Race Day and running the half marathon through Uganda? So, I actually decided on Race Day to complete the full marathon. I trained...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Emily Reed

Interview with a UGM Runner – Emily Reed

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. Emily, a Secondary School PE Teacher from the UK, signed up to the Uganda Marathon as she was looking for an adventure which fitted in with her school holidays. She didn’t know anyone when she signed up, but she didn’t let that stop her! Below she talks about meeting her fellow runners, visiting a Ugandan primary school, the marathon and her favourite memories from the week!   1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? I signed up because I wanted an adventure and to do a race in Africa as part of my seven continent challenge. The race suited me as I’m a teacher and it fitted in with my school holidays. The race looked like a fantastic week of fun and an adventure – not just a race. I wanted to do some project work, meet like-minded people and experience a less touristy approach to Uganda. The race was so much more than I expected. After a week of training runs, making new awesome friends, project work and cultural visits, I had totally forgotten I had come to run a marathon come race day. The marathon course was awesome and had a great ‘social friendly’ feel to it because we had all spent a week out there....
UGM Guest blog: My Story of the Week – By Caroline Hargreaves

UGM Guest blog: My Story of the Week – By Caroline Hargreaves

Caroline joined us for the event as she loves to combine running with travelling. She took on the full marathon event, visited a Ugandan project which works to fight malnutrition in schools, donated a ton of running shoes to the Masaka running community, and after the week, went Gorilla trekking in the Rain Forest. Describing the race as “hands down my favourite marathon” and 7-days as “one of the best weeks of my life“, she returned from the adventure so inspired, she started writing her own blog about her travels and running. Below she kindly shares some extracts from her write up of the week, both from her blog and the race report she wrote for her running club, to give you an idea of what the Uganda Marathon event is all about!    Sunday 27th May: Arriving in Uganda After [the collection from the airport, it was] a quick stop at the equator & an African massage (that’s driving on the African roads full of potholes)  we arrived at Hotel Brovad, my home for the next week. Time to freshen up & change, ready to go to the welcome party held at the Athletes Village where there was food, a bar where you could buy alcohol from whilst sitting around the campfire, and the chance to watch traditional African dancers.   Monday 28th May: Acclimatisation Day Up early & met up with everyone to learn more about what the Uganda Marathon is all about & got to play some games to get to know each other a bit better. We then got placed into clans with people that have...
Interview with three UGM Runners – Robert & Elaine Mallett, and Celia Waters

Interview with three UGM Runners – Robert & Elaine Mallett, and Celia Waters

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. Robert, Elaine and Celia signed up for the Uganda Marathon together as ‘Team Mallett’ and fundraised collectively, raising over £2,300 for the Ugandan project, Ssunga Health Centre. Below they tell us about their fascinating reason for signing up, their visit to the health centre, and their different experiences on Race Day – as Rob ran the 42K, Elaine and Celia chose our spectator option.   1. What made you all sign up for the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? Robert: My main motivation was to combine my liking for running in different countries with a trip back to the land of my birth.  On both counts, it succeeded in bringing me a new running experience but also memories of my childhood. Elaine: I had been trying to encourage Bob and his sisters to return to Uganda for a number of years, and spotting someone at a running event in the south of England with a Uganda Marathon t-shirt, was the perfect impetus Bob needed to get signed up.  As soon as he checked out the website, he was sold on the event. Running in his homeland! It took little persuasion to get one of his sisters [Celia] to come along too! I wasn’t going to miss out either, so as Bob’s chief running supporter and bag carrier,...
Interview with two UGM Runners – Steve & Mark Sullivan

Interview with two UGM Runners – Steve & Mark Sullivan

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. When Mark signed up to the Uganda Marathon as part of his personal challenge to run a marathon on every continent, his dad, Steve, decided to join as well. So as father and son, they joined us on the 7-Day Adventure. Below they tell us about their experiences at the Charity Projects, Race Day, going on safari and gorilla trekking, and their favourite memories from the week.     1. What made you both sign up for the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? Mark: After completing my first marathon in New Zealand in 2014 I decided I wanted to run one on every continent. It did start off as a lifetime goal but has since been one a year every year – year 5 was Africa. With a rough idea of doing Mt.Kilimanjaro, I searched “best marathons to run in Africa” and the Uganda Marathon featured highly on every search. So, I looked a little deeper and decided that was the one for me. In truth it was more than I expected, I knew I would love the trip because it incorporated lots of things I enjoy, but I was a little apprehensive about the logistics of being part of such a big group on an ‘organised event week’. So I was pleasantly surprised how...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Sonia Gouveia

Interview with a UGM Runner – Sonia Gouveia

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. Sonia joined us all the way from Australia and took advantage of our option to do split fundraising between a Ugandan Charity Project and another charity of her choice – Tackle Africa. Below she chats to us about the causes she chose, her interest in sustainable development, Legacy Day, buying Ugandan art and taking on the 42K – despite not being the biggest fan of running!     1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? I first heard about the Uganda Marathon through a Facebook post by Tackle Africa in 2017, calling for people to run on their behalf. Due to personal circumstances, I couldn’t commit at that time, however, I made a conscious decision that I would participate in 2018 no matter what. Let’s just say I’m pretty headstrong when I put my mind to something. What attracted me to this event was that it wasn’t just a marathon – I don’t enjoy running so that wasn’t the highlight – the whole package was the attraction, with the opportunity to be involved in the local communities, get my hands dirty (literally) and spend some time in a beautiful place, far away from city life. I expected to meet lots of keen runners, who were there for the...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Christine Callaghan

Interview with a UGM Runner – Christine Callaghan

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. Christine had wanted to travel to Africa for some time, so when her son returned with stories of the Uganda Marathon in 2015, she decided to take the plunge. Below we chat to her about her son’s involvement in the event since then, her expectations, the volunteer days, and embracing every moment of Race Day!     1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon? A trip to Africa has been on my list for a long time, so when my son Mark returned from the first Uganda Marathon in 2015, full of enthusiasm and praise for the event, I knew that it was something I would love to do. Subsequently, after the first event, Mark also became part of the Uganda Marathon team as the UK Running Coach, and his stories and enthusiasm for the event and Uganda added to my desire to experience it for myself.   2. Was it what you expected? The event was more inclusive than I expected. There were participants from all age groups which surprised me, but of course, there are people running well into their 80’s these days.  Being put into clans on our first day was a great idea.  I was in Njovu (elephant) clan and we were the best!   3. What was your experience of...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Mihail Metodiev

Interview with a UGM Runner – Mihail Metodiev

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. Mihail joined us on his first visit to Africa after a friend shared their experiences of the marathon from the previous year. Below, he talks about experiencing the local culture, visiting the Charity Project ‘Lwannunda Childcare’ and running his first ever half marathon!          1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon? I have been wanting to visit Africa since I was a child. I had read a lot about the continent, and also in my university years, I took a lot of interest in its political history and the post-colonial history of African countries. Uganda presented itself as an opportunity when one of my close friends had gone there the year before and was telling me stories about the 7-Day Adventure and everything that she experienced at the event. The stories about the place and the people were phenomenal and I told myself that if I have the opportunity to go in the future, I will definitely do it. So a few months later, when I saw her post about it on social media, I knew I had to seize the opportunity and went for it!   2. The event was your first time travelling to Africa – was it what you expected? Nothing can really prepare you for what you...
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