The UGM Runners’ Blog is our series of blogs dedicated to our International Runners. Written by a former UGM Runner, these posts share training tips, fundraising ideas and travel advice- all designed to help our 2016 Runners get the best out of their six-day adventure… and the weeks leading up to the event!
There are less than two weeks to go until you travel to Uganda (Woop!), and now’s the time when those last minute questions tend to pop into your head. Have I got everything I need? What are we doing in the six days leading up to the race? How many water stations are there on the course? Will there be easily accessible internet at camp?
Based on my experience last year (and some updated information for 2016), here’s our top nine most popular last minute questions. which might be of some help as you make your final preparations to come to Uganda.
1. Will I get picked up when I arrive in Uganda?
Yes! The team will be waiting to meet you at Entebbe airport if you are arriving on Tuesday 31st May. However to be picked up, the essential thing you need to do is to make sure you let us know your flight details in advance. Drop Sophie an email ASAP if you haven’t already!
There is a returning transfer on Monday 6th June, but it’s really important you let Sophie know you need a space on this as well, otherwise it’s unlikely there will be room!
2. What currency should I take and how much spending money do I need?
In Uganda they use Uganda Shillings. From experience, or at least living in the UK, it’s pretty difficult to get a hold of this currency in advance. Last year I made sure I had enough US dollars to buy my visa ($100 – notes dated newer than 2006), and then as soon as I got to Masaka we went into town as a group and I withdrew the money I needed there from an ATM. You can also change UK £ to shillings very easily.
Most of your trip is included in the package, but it’s always nice to have some money in hand for drinks or souvenirs. Everything does feel quite reasonable in Uganda, so it will feel like your money is going a long way!
3. What are the Visa requirements?
The majority of nationalities require a Visa to enter Uganda. You can obtain a single entry visa at Entebbe airport for $100. Get this amount changed up before you arrive in Uganda, so everything runs smoothly at the airport.
4. Will there be Wifi/Internet at camp?
Unfortunately there isn’t any wifi at camp, but there is the option to get internet via an unlocked phone. You can get a local SIM card (including nano/mini/micro) and data package. This is what I did last year- and it worked a treat! I didn’t have to top up and was able to post photos/status to boost my fundraising over the week.
Essentially the key thing you’ll need to bring is an unlocked phone.
(There is wifi at the hotel by the way, but it’s not fast!)
5. How many water stations will there be on the course?
There are six water stations along the 21K course, so that’s six if you’re doing the half marathon and twelve if you are doing the full marathon (the 42K course is two laps).
These won’t have any energy drinks or gels on though, so it’s a good idea to pack your own. That’s what I did last year. (I’m glad I did for that second lap!!)
6. What weather can I expect?
It’s always a hard one predicting the weather, but in short: bring clothes (and running gear) for warm weather. Sunscreen is a must too!
Do remember though the week is held at the tail end of rainy season, so do come prepared for the odd downpour. It can also get a little chilly when the sun goes down, so bring a jumper for the evenings.
Personally, I took mainly summer clothes, but a waterproof in case it did rain and a hoodie for the cooler evenings.
7. What’s the plan for the week?
We’re glad you asked! Obviously it’s Race Day on Sunday 5th June, but leading up to that we’ve got a jam-packed week on for you. If you haven’t seen already, check out this blog for the details: The 2016 Uganda Marathon 7 Day Adventure Itinerary.
8. Can we bring donations for the projects?
Yes. We’d really appreciate it, and the projects would even more so!
For a full list of ideas, see this handy list Sophie has put together in the Google Drive.
9. What do I need to bring with me?
Sophie sent you an email checklist 10 days ago. Please follow it!
(To give you some ideas- obviously this will vary from person to person…)
- $100 USD for Visa on arrival
- Comfortable shoes/sandals for daily use
- Clothes suitable for warm weather (that could potentially get a little dirty over the course of the week)
- Something warm for the cooler evenings
- Money or bank cards (ATM’s widely available) to cover souvenirs, water and other drinks, snacks, additional meals etc
- Any required prescription medication
- Underwear and socks
- Personal First Aid Kit including anti-diarrhoea medicine, rehydration sachets, pain-killers, antiseptic cream, plasters, motion sickness pills
- Travel insurance
- Insect repellent
- Antimalarials (consult your physician)
- Running specifics eg. running shoes, kit for training runs and race day
- Women only: sport bra
- Rehydration tablets
- Unlocked phone (essential for internet at camp/on the go)
- Battery pack to charge your phone (there is limited electricity at camp, and this also means you can charge your phone at your convenience in your tent, say at night)
- Waterproof jacket
- Closed toe shoes for evenings
- Swimsuit (there is a pool at the hotel, and the whole group will visit on the Saturday)
- Day bag
- Lip balm with SPF
- Travel pillow
- Headphones and music
- Travel alarm
- Playing cards/other games
- Hand sanitiser
- Running specifics: gels, energy drinks, sunglasses, hat, running watch
I hope these questions have been of help in your final preparations for Uganda! As always if you have any questions, leave comments on here, on the Facebook group or email us at [email protected]
Up next: Tips for Race Day itself!
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