Ugandan Marathon – What to Expect


What to Expect Running in Uganda

So what is it like to go running in East Africa? How hard would a Ugandan Marathon really be? Luckily, the team at Running the Rift Marathon have lots of experience running in the “Pearl of Africa”. Here is their take on what to expect when running in Uganda and how to prepare to Run the Rift!

Firstly, expect to fall in love with Uganda, and with running in Uganda. You’ll run through the stunning rolling countryside, through energetic towns, villages and plantations. Locals will cheer you, excited children will follow you unable to restrain their joy. All on forgiving compact dirt trails. Running in Uganda will give you a taste of true Africa and its people. There is something magical about running in Uganda. East Africa is where the human story began, a story that began with running. Our number one tip: enjoy, smile and soak up every second.

The Rift 10k, Half-Marathon and Marathon are suitable for all runners. From running newbies to marathon pros. There are three things you will need to consider when running a marathon in Uganda:

–       Heat

–       Hills

–       Altitude


The biggest concern we hear from our international athletes is the heat of running in Uganda. First things first, don’t worry! The heat is not as big a factor as you might expect.  It will be warm, especially in the sun. But due to the slight altitude, we don’t expect temperatures to get much above 30 Celsius. Expect the high 20s. The altitude helps by removing some of the humidity from the air. For sure you will get warm Running the Rift. With appropriate hydration and training, this should not be a problem. Use the UK summer to get used to doing your long runs in the heat (safely). Learn your hydration strategy long before the race. It is individual for everyone. Be aware of over-hydration as well as dehydration. This article is a good starting point


The Running the Rift courses will be undulating. There will be a few cheeky hills along the way, but the course is more than achievable for every level of runner. Know your fitness level before you come out and pace the hills accordingly – there is no shame in walking! Slow and steady will win this race! The key to dealing with hills is…you’ve guessed it, hill training. Lots of them! Get your body and brain used to tackling hills and on race day the hills will be part of your routine. All the best runners in the world train in hilly areas. You will come away from hill training a stronger runner so embrace them! Read this Article by elite coach Gavin Smith on hill training.


The altitude of Fort Portal is 1500 m. You may notice the altitude a little. But it is not enough to cause any serious problems. As mentioned above, this slight altitude does bring some benefits to temperature and humidity. In a nutshell, we’re not high enough to worry.

Run the Rift!

The above three factors are all manageable. They make the Running the Rift Races the exciting challenges they are. None of us signed up for pan flat tarmac courses to run a PB on. We’re here for the stunning scenery, the beautiful trails, the excited local kids chasing you down the road, and a festive atmosphere. An unforgettable race. and a truly Ugandan marathon! Anyone who has trained for their distance (10k, 21k or 42k) can Run the Rift, regardless of ability. A love of running and exploring is the only condition of entry!