On a frosty February morning the thought of running in soaring temperatures near the equator in Uganda couldn’t have been further from my thoughts. That was until my mind reminded me why I was awake just before 6AM – Uganda marathon training and meet up! Had I been more proactive in our exclusive or should I say inclusive? ‘signed up’ runner’s Facebook group I might have convinced the others that somewhere my side of town would be more convenient for a 9AM meet up bearing in mind Sunday morning public transport.
Meeting at the sun gate entrance to Battersea Park we quickly said our hellos and you could already sense the excitement we shared in signing up for a race in the heart of Africa. Ellie, the event manager and a keen runner herself discussed pacing and the best way to divide the group into various abilities giving all runners a beneficial run. The plan was for everyone to run 10Km, (four laps of the inner 2.5Km loop) a warm up lap, two marathon pace laps and then a hard, burning final lap. I ran with Paul, who had he gone flat out would’ve lapped me, I might have his number over 42Km though…time will tell. It was awesome to hear the team are trying to convince Ugandan Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich to run the inaugural race in his country. As we ran round we saw a small 10Km race being assembled, convenient we thought we run the home straight and cross their finish line, have to say the crowd weren’t interested in cheering us through, next time I’ll wear and old race number! As we began our final lap I said to Paul he might as well push on as I literally couldn’t run faster than what I was, he was out of sight within a few hundred metres! It was great to meet up with the team again at the end of our 10Km, a few quick stretches and then we all looked at each other – “coffee and cake time!”
A short walk and we arrived at a lovely coffee shop, assembled a queue and got our orders in for the most rewarding part of a run – cake! Flat white, ginger cake and a bagel and I was intrigued to learn more about my team mates. It’s wonderful to have range of experience, both shorter distance runners and some who will be committed runners for the first time. Looking forward to sharing training tips, as well as cycling advice from a team mate who literally needs to break both arms to get her off her bike! Really! Two broken arms, one accident, ouch! I’m a fan of the commitment, not so much the injury! After just a short meet up, it’s reaffirmed this is extremely likely to be the highlight of #15in15.
When planning my #15in15 calendar I hadn’t heard about the Uganda marathon and had planned to run Transvulcania in La Palma, Canary Islands. I missed the entry deadline, initially gutted I soon reminded myself there is a plethora of marathon options these days, even in the extreme/ultra categories. Plans just seem to fall into place when you surround yourself with positive and outgoing folk and so happened when a friend asked had I and then how had I not heard about the Uganda marathon?! I checked out the website, met Henry the race director and signed up for what is bound to be an incredible experience and then we get to run a marathon! It’s brilliant that the same people which are organising such an event are becoming friends by meeting and training with them at Project Awesome as well. I only signed up a few weeks ago and I’ve had more personal communication with many members of the organising team and other runners than I have in any other races I’ve entered in total. Part of my decision thinking in signing up for the marathon is that it’s so much more than just a marathon. You stay with a host family, make project visits to schools and rural health clinics the not for profit race is supporting, marshall a children’s fun run and hand out finisher’s awards not only medals but vital learning supplies as well and subsidise the entry for local runners to take part to name a few. More information on ‘a race like no other’ can be found at here
The support I continue to receive is meaning so much and is inspiring me to get out and train during the cold winter months, if you would like to donate you can do so here
What’s next for Adventure Adam? An evening of inspiration with Explorers Connect – Paula Reid: Walking to the South Pole on Tuesday 10th
Embrace the cold, wrap up and enjoy the week!