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.
Dominique, from London, participated in the full 42K marathon event and fundraised for the Charity Project, Women’s Soroptimists. Not one to describe herself as a ‘runner’, here’s her story of why she signed up and deciding to make the Uganda Marathon her first-ever long-distance event!
1. What made you sign up for the Uganda Marathon?
I really don’t like running, so running a half marathon, let alone a full one, was never on my radar! But one day the Uganda Marathon started following me on Twitter and I found something very appealing about the challenge of running a marathon in Africa. I’d always previously been put off the idea of distance running because all the chat about marathon times and technical clothing and pacing felt totally alien to me – but the UGM felt like something completely
2. Was it what you expected?
Before I got to Uganda I was pretty much terrified and excited in equal measure – I really had no idea what to expect! What I can say is that it really was far beyond anything I could have imagined, from how friendly, welcoming and reassuring all the other runners were to how packed with incredible experiences the week was – the projects we helped out with and the people we met were all amazing and offered a completely unique – and uniquely fulfilling – way to see the country. It’s almost indescribable – you just have to go out and experience it for yourself!
3. Our event was your first long distance race…could you tell us about your experience on Race Day?
Before we even set off on Race Day, the support of all the other runners was amazingly reassuring, and made me determined to get around the course, even if I had to walk. It actually wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been dreading – with so much to look at and so many kids to high five, the first lap flew by! Between the heat and the hills, the second lap was a lot tougher but running with so many different people I’d met across the week made it a lot more enjoyable, and being welcomed across the finish line by everyone that had already done it was an incredible (and incredibly emotional) experience!
4. Finally, what was your best overall memory from the week?
Being able to see where your money is going before you do the race is an amazing motivator so I really loved the day we spent with our chosen project – for me that was the Women’s Soroptimists. It makes a huge difference to be able to see exactly how the money is benefiting the local community – we helped them make sanitary towels from banana fibres before delivering them to the local women’s prison and hearing the stories of the prisoners. That experience is really what makes the UGM stand out from your regular ‘city’ marathon for me – it makes you feel like every step you take is really benefiting someone.