If you’re thinking about signing up for the Uganda Marathon this year and joining us in May, you’re bound to have questions. Afterall, it’s a big undertaking: a week-long adventure in Africa, combining elements such as running, volunteering and fundraising, all to help the Uganda community and leave an amazing impact!
So, to help with your deliberations on whether to sign up for this year’s event, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions – questions which many of our previous runners have asked, and I wondered myself in 2015 when I went through the process of signing up.
We hope they’re helpful, and should you have any other questions, feel free to contact the team – we’d love to hear from you! 🙂
#1 What’s included in the Week-long Adventure?
The Adventure in Uganda is much more than a race, but a full itinerary of different activities spanning seven-days. In the short, the week can be summed up as:
“A week-long festival of travel, volunteering and exploration. An opportunity to make new friends, try new foods and get to know a new culture, with a physical challenge and big party at the end.”
The week is built around opportunities to volunteer and make a difference. Specifically, you’ll get to spend a day volunteering at the Charity Project you’ve chosen to fundraise for, and therefore you’re running the race for. This gives you an opportunity to see exactly how you’re helping the community, as well as give you the chance to pitch in for a day and help by getting hands-on.
The week also includes a day of volunteering at a second Charity Project, organising and marshalling a sports day for local disadvantaged children and the chance to experience Uganda culture. There’s entertainment each night and a big party to celebrate it all at the end!
In terms of cost, everything is included from the moment you touch down in Uganda, including food, in-country transfers, activities and accommodation. Flights are not included in the package (but we do our very best to help our runners get the best value for money) and you’ll also need to arrange your Ugandan visa. But from there, it’s very much down to your discretion – how much you want to spend on the bar, souvenirs etc. All the essentials are covered!
#2 I’m new to running’ or ‘I don’t really consider myself a runner’. Am I up to running an event in Uganda?
Firstly, it’s important to note we offer three different events on Race Day. As well as the marathon (42K/26.2 miles), our longest distance, we also offer two shorter distance events:
- Half-marathon (21.1K/13.1 miles)
- 10 Kilometer challenge (6.2 Miles)
These all occur on the morning of the 2nd June 2018, via the same route. So if you’d prefer to train for something a bit shorter than a whole marathon, these could be for you.
It’s also worth noting on average each year, half our participants who join us in Uganda have never run a marathon before. Some come more for the volunteering, where others want to make their first ever marathon (or any distance race) really special, by running it in Africa. You also have 9 hours to complete your event, so you can set a pace which is comfortable for you, whether you want to run, jog or walk.
This also goes for anyone who might think they’re too old to take part. Each year, we have people of all ages come and join us for The Uganda Marathon adventure, our oldest runner is over 80 and our youngest is just 7 (who did the 10K!). The 7-day adventure, including the race, is for anyone of any age and you will love it?
When I signed up, I had run one marathon previously in the UK, but my fitness was pretty low when I started training for the Uganda Marathon. I just used the time I had to train and set a steady pace which felt comfortable on Race Day. I had to walk some parts towards the end if I’m honest, but I still reached the finish line and got a time I was really pleased with!
#3 What’s the Climate like in Uganda? Won’t running in Uganda be really tough?
Uganda is based on the Equator, so it can get quite hot especially towards midday, but that’s part of the challenge! To help tackle the heat, we start the events early in the morning and also provide plenty of water frequently throughout the course. We also hold the event at the end of Rainy Season, when it’s normally cooler in Uganda (although we can’t guarantee it…2017 proved hotter than our previous two years).
It’s important to take into consideration the climate when running in Uganda. It’s hilly too. Rather than chasing a PB or a quick time, go at a sensible pace. Yes, embrace the challenge you’ve been fundraising for, but also take the time to appreciate running in this beautiful country – it’s stunning! You’ll also be running with the local runners and receiving fantastic support along the way from the Masaka community, a really special experience.
Many of our former participants have said, whilst the course is tough, it’s very special experience, unique from any other event they’ve done and they’ve loved it!
#4 How does the Fundraising work?
When I was looking into signing up for the Uganda Marathon, one key thought that occurred to me was ‘what was the fundraising target?’ as I was aware many running fundraising events come with a minimum (and often high) amount to fundraise.
However, the great news is – there is no minimum fundraising target with the Uganda Marathon. Participants choose their own fundraising target for two main reasons. Firstly, whatever you can raise will go along way in Uganda, making a big difference to the community. Second, the team wants your fundraising to be fun and inspired rather than stressful. All we ask is, once you have set your target, you do your absolute best to smash it!
You can also choose which Uganda Charity Project(s) you would like to fundraise for, from our selection of projects. That way, you can pick the cause which is really important to you and that you’re passionate about! Similarly, there is also an option to do split fundraising between a Ugandan project and charity of your choice, with up to a 50:50 split. Like we say, we want your fundraising to be inspired, so offer a lot of flexibility!
Finally, because of the unique model of the event, 100% of all participant fundraising goes to the causes they care about! There are no admin deductions!
#5 I’m travelling Solo/no-one can go with me
However, I took the plunge anyway and so glad I did – everyone was friendly and chatty from the moment I stepped off the plane and I’d made friends on the transfer by the time I’d reached camp. This trend continued throughout the week, and I met so many likeminded people who it was easy to get along with, as they were there for the same reason as me – to help the projects and participate in an exciting event!
The event has a real community feel to it, and many of the people I met, I’m still friends with today. The event is also a great opportunity to meet people from other countries and different walks of life!
On average, we find 1 in 3 of our participants each year come to the event not knowing anyone, and still have a brilliant time!
Emily was one of our previous participants who signed up not knowing anyone – read her story here.Let's get social! Stay up to date with amazing news and photos from Uganda, plus race tips and more: