It is with great sadness that we have announced that, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are forced to postpone the 2020 Uganda Marathon week-long Adventure, and the Uganda Marathon Race, until Summer 2021.
Prior to the 18th March, our stance was that the event was due to continue as planned, as long as it was safe, participants were able to get to Uganda, and that we had not received instructions to cancel from local or national authorities. However since then, tight controls have been put into place in Uganda that make the safe organisation of this event impossible. These controls include:
- Changes in the FCO travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Uganda – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/uganda.
- Updates from the Ugandan government Ministry of Health advising against foreign travel to Uganda.
- The closure of the only international airport in Uganda for all non-essential travel.
- The closure of roads into the country for all non-essential travel.
- Strict quarantine instructions for all Ugandan residents returning home that force them to isolate for 14 days on arrival.
- The banning of all big gatherings
- The banning of all press conferences.
- The closure of all schools, universities and churches.
It is difficult to predict how long these measures will be enforced for, but after conversations with the local authorities and our sponsors, we realised that we can no longer hold the event this May and so we have no choice but to postpone the 2020 event.
We are devastated as a team, but even in this time of sadness, we are touched by the messages of understanding and support that you have sent us.
Crises bring out the best and worst of us. We want to thank every runner who took the brave leap and signed up for a marathon adventure in Uganda, from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for your patience and understanding in what has been a difficult few weeks and months for people all over the world.
We wanted to put on this event for the good and community benefit it would bring – but this growing global health crisis, and the measures put into combating it, mean that taking a year off is the right course of action to keep everyone safe.
What this means for you, if you have already registered:
- All runners have their 7-day adventure automatically deferred to next summer’s event for free. Taking part will not cost you a penny. The dates for 2021 will be Sunday 30th May – Sunday 6th June, with Race Day on Saturday 5th June.
- We invite everyone to take part in a free virtual race on this year’s marathon date. On 30th May runners, team, donors and projects in Uganda and all over the world will run their own Uganda Marathon – alone or with friends (if safe to do so) – and share pictures and videos of your run with the global Uganda Marathon family.
- If you have already signed up and you take part in this event, for any distance, you will receive your (now extremely limited edition!) 2020 Uganda Marathon medal.
- We are working closely with the projects you have chosen to support, and the trustees of the Uganda Marathon charities. At this time it looks likely that fundraised money and your fundraising pages will be rolled over to next year. You should still be able to raise for, visit, work with, and run for your selected projects.
- The Uganda Marathon is a big economic contributor to Masaka. We will soon be launching a crowdfunding appeal to help protect Ugandan jobs, livelihoods, and small enterprises that depend on the Marathon for business. This will allow our alumni participants from previous years’ races to support the community they grew to know and love.
All we see on social media is an outpouring of kindness and concern for projects, small businesses, low-waged and vulnerable in Uganda and across the world. You’re playing your part in keeping safe a nation with only 55 intensive care beds in the whole country.
Have no doubt: when times are tough, people band together and look after each other.
In return, we’re making sure your 2021 Uganda Marathon will be absolutely worth waiting for.
We’ll be communicating more in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please stay safe, look after the most vulnerable in your communities, and help wherever you can.
The whole town of Masaka is waiting to meet you, run with you, and celebrate with you in May 2021.
With our very best wishes,
Henry, the whole Uganda Marathon team, and all of Masaka, Uganda.