Photo Credit: Tanya Raab

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 projects, to community feel they give to the race.

An experienced runner and traveller, Dayo joined us from Nigeria as part of her quest to run a marathon in as many countries as possible. Heavily focused on the race, it wasn’t until she arrived in Uganda, that she discovered the charity element of the event and volunteered at project Huridem…

 

1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon 2017?

I belong to a group of runners who are crazy enough to want to run marathons in as many countries as possible. We are called the Marathon Globetrotters and I personally put a lot of time into researching and planning the countries to run for logistic reasons. When I saw that the Kigali International Marathon and the Uganda international Marathon were 2 weeks apart and in the same geographical location, I knew I had to register for both Marathons.

And that is how I got registered for the marathon, coupled with the fact that Elodie [who ran the Uganda Marathon the previous year], one of my runner friends, had good things to say about the event.

 

2. Was it what you expected?

No, it wasn’t what I expected or rather I had no expectations. I just wanted to run a marathon in another country and tick Uganda off my list of countries to record ‘Country 27’.

 

3. What projects did you volunteer at and why?

I did not understand all the fuss about volunteering. “I don’t want to volunteer. I don’t want to raise funds either…I just want to run”, I remember telling the organizers each time they asked what project I wanted to volunteer at.

I didn’t even spend time researching into the projects or attempting to understand the whole essence of the Uganda International Marathon and what made the Marathon ‘a race like no other’.

 

Dayo travelled with her clan to the Charity Project ‘Huridem’, to learn about the project and volunteer there for the day (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

 

4. Could you tell us about your experience of visiting the projects?

I was totally ashamed of myself and selfish attitude when I got to camp and got to know about the selfless service the organizers were rendering to my fellow African brethren. The organizers were not Africans but I could see the purity of heart and intentions with which they reached out to the locals and there I was, a full-fledged African who didn’t raise any funds or wasn’t going to volunteer my services.

I had been assigned to the Mvungu clan working with a group of local people defending women and children rights.

Dayo helps assemble the new Chicken Coup (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

I loved the fact that money or goods only were not being handed out but rather a self-sustaining income generating venture was being put in place to take care of the financial needs of the group. That to me bestows some level of dignity on the receiver as opposed to receiving handouts.

Our Mvungu Clan helped to build, from scratch and from waste materials, a new chicken coup to replace the coup that had recently been gutted by fire.

I was so much amazed at seeing what could be done with waste plastic bottles, which otherwise would have been littering the streets, so I quickly made a mental note to take this technique [known as Upcycling] back to my country where plastic bottles litter the streets.

Working on the farm helping to clear and plant was very memorable. I often still wonder how the plants must be faring.

 

The volunteers help plant new crops for the project (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

 

5. Finally, what was your best overall memory of the week?

Every single moment of the week presented a new experience and was memorable in their own special way. This makes it impossible to have a best overall memory.

Dayo runs with the children at Kids Run Wild (Photo Credit: The Glass Passport Project)

I had met some selfless and incredible people who have taught me that putting smiles on the faces of other people is a very satisfying and fulfilling service. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of the children when we had the ‘Kids Run Wild’ event. That will stay with me for the rest of my life while I am inspired to replicate the event in my country as we have our inaugural Edition of the Ile-Ife Heritage Marathon on February 4, 2018.

So I not only ran my 31st Marathon in Uganda, I had a life-changing experience – thank you to the organizers and all participants.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of ‘I RAN THE UGANDA MARATHON’…don’t miss the opportunity, hop on the train.

 

Dayo approaches the finish line of the Uganda Marathon, and ticks off another marathon in a new country! (Photo Credit: Richard Jackson)

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