"Race through the heart of Africa, helping local communities along the way."
The Uganda International Marathon is more than just a race. It is an opportunity to participate in an African adventure that’s as rewarding for you as it is beneficial for the local communities of Masaka. Its aim is simple: gather together a team of international runners to the equator in order to provide valuable voluntary assistance for local people – it’s one community helping the other! In store is a fulfilling week worth of hard graft, as you lend a hand with building educational facilities while engaging with local communities and experiencing authentic Ugandan cultures. Your adventure culminates in one epic race alongside 3,000 other participants – it’s beyond awe-inspiring.
Whether you run 10k, a half or full marathon (or even choose to spectate), you will be satisfied in the knowledge that these projects have only been made possible because of your support and investment. After the race, your itinerary is entirely up to you as you can either return home or continue on in Uganda; you’re already in an immense country renowned for its picturesque landscape and wildlife, so why not extend your stay to take full advantage? At the end of it all, you can leave knowing that your donations, your time and your friendship has made a difference to the lives of so many.
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Integration with local people is one of the key features of this experience, with The Uganda International Marathon hoping to deliver a rewarding and authentic immersion in African culture for its participants whilst also providing valuable charitable benefits for its recipients. Organised by a Ugandan NGO (non-governmental organisation), the experience is not-for-profit, with all revenue being distributed back into the local economy. There is also great emphasis placed on communities’ independence from foreign aid, with the projects involved committed to working collaboratively with local people to ensure sustainable development.
There are many different projects that volunteers can work alongside, with varied outcomes including improved education and enhanced quality of life. The East African Playgrounds project, for example, encourages creative development for children whereas the Action for Integrated Community Development works with families coping with mentally and physically disabled youths. Environmental awareness is also a crucial feature of this experience, with its participants encouraged to take on board eco-friendly practices for example promoting awareness for not littering, using water efficiently and purchasing a reusable water bottle. There is limited electricity on site barring the necessary generators required for essential appliances, however, solar power is utilised when possible.
Arrival: Your starting point (figuratively, you won’t be running quite yet) is at Entebbe airport in remotest Uganda. You’ll meet your fellow runners/volunteers as you get off the plane before being transported to Masaka, the site of the athletes village and the communities that you will be engaging with throughout the week. Today is a chance to learn about the local art, language and culture as well as meet the locals themselves. Moreover, your primary objective for today is merely to settle in!
MVRC: Today is the day to visit the Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, a specialist school for disabled children where you interact with the pupils as well as assist in their classwork. After a morning of meeting everyone, the afternoon presents an opportunity to give something back as you may be involved in expanding the school (for example constructing and painting the new playground) before playing various games with the children.
Make A Difference Day: The plan for today is to visit the project you have chosen to sponsor on your run and see the direct impact that your support is having. You will meet, face to face, the direct recipients of your donations and contribute to making a difference yourself.
Kindsrunwild: The race is fast approaching but before that, it’s time to participate in a children’s fun day. Set up at Liberation Square, there’s bouncy castles, fun runs and face-painting – everything that an excitable child loves! In the afternoon, prepare yourself for an epic football match: Uganda vs. Rest of the world, the biggest of all derby games. A spot of fun nonetheless, but get kitted up and ready for an afternoon full of footballing fun!
Super Saturday: Today, the itinerary is handed over to ‘Escape the City’ along with other entrepreneurs and adventurers for an enthralling day packed with exciting challenges in store… While the morning may be buzzing with activity, your afternoon and evening will be fairly more relaxed, with a pool party obviously. Along with a carb buffet feast, you will be well and truly pampered before the testing day tomorrow. An early night is clearly in order, but not before a crucial briefing by the race organisers and medical team.
Race Day: Today, you wake as merely a runner but you will end the day as a hero. On your marks at 7am sharp for one of the most enduring yet rewarding races of your life, with thousands of other fellow runners and lines of spectators cheering you on. After hours of endless running, you will cross the finish line and have your name etched in eternity! In the evening (if you’re not too sore), there’s a mass BBQ and party in celebration of the marathon – you honestly deserve it.
Final Day: For some, today is the final day of their experience as they depart to the airport to travel elsewhere. For others, it may be just the beginning of further Ugandan exploration, going on safari, gorilla treks and/or yet more volunteering activities.
- The rate shown is an 'early-bird' rate, ending January 22nd (at which time prices will go up by £50)
- The rate shown is based on 'glamping' accommodation - other accommodation styles are available
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator directly about the Marathon's availability, accommodation options and costs
- The event runs from the 29th May to 5th June - as such, there is only one departure date per year
- To secure a place on this project a £99 deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
- Refund policy: £99 deposit is refundable within 14 days of sign up. 50% of the final balance is refundable until April 1st 2017.
- 7 nights' accommodation
- 3 meals per day
- Race entry to the 10k, half or full marathon race (plus your free also subsidies 15 Ugandan junior runners to participate)
- All daily activities including supporting local projects, a trip to Lake Nabugabo, and a football tournament
- Language and cultural lessons from local staff
- 24/7 emergency medical support from a team of UK doctors
- Race t-shirt and stunning handmade finisher’s medal
- Pre-race package including in-depth training and fundraising support
- Exclusive discounts on safari, gorilla trekking, volunteering opportunities and more should you wish to stay on in Uganda after the race
- Alcoholic drinks
- Airport transfers, except on certain dates - click 'Ask a Question' up above to enquire about transfers