More than a Marathon

Running the Rift Marathon (the RiftMaz) is an event that takes place in rural Uganda in November each year. There are six days and each day is filled with new experiences, new friends, new wildlife and a very real and genuine taste of unexplored Africa. This post mentions racing a 100m sprint against a very competitive field…the day after running a marathon – please don’t let that put you off signing up to the event!! 😉

By Ellie, Race Director

The Running the Rift Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k is a very special event and only exists to support the crucial work that the Kyaninga Child Development Centre (KCDC) do for disabled children in Uganda. What better way to show what a great organisation it is than create a special sports day for the children, their families and all the RiftMaz runners!

The sports day was the day after the marathon – say aye if your quads are on fire! – and it was even more than we, the race directors, imagined!

With tents lining the playing field, tyres dug into the ground ready for action, street food and a bar, the action kicked off mid morning with a brass band. Atmosphere set and runners quickly forgetting their aches (I’ve no idea if this is true, my legs hadn’t just run 26 miles…but I was enjoying it!), the games began!
Football, touch rugby, a drum circle, ball games and racing through tyres (child-size tyres I might add, so when our runners got involved all hell broke loose!).

In the shade of the tents children kept cool colouring in and playing with our runners. Then the heavens opened and in the downpour a rugby game began…a topless rugby game. I don’t think the Ugandans knew where to look but it made for comical viewing while the rest of us dug into lunch.

The Paralympics Come to Uganda

The Rio 1500m silver medal Paralympian, David Emong (quite a mouthful) joined us for the whole Running the Rift event (scoring another silver medal in the 10k the day before with what he referred to as an ‘easy’ effort). He came to the sports day and gave a brilliant speech to the families and children – telling them that they have a disability, not an inability and they can achieve whatever they want to.

To prove his point he then challenged every able bodied person to a 100m sprint! You can imagine the carnage that ensued – an amazing (and hilarious) end to a fantastic experience.

Read more about the KCDC sports day >>