Uganda’s tourism sector is trying to promote the sport in the wild to attract more visitors to the country. Now, Equator Heights, a local organization of tourism enthusiasts, plans to launch an annual marathon to draw global attention to the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the country’s top attractions.
The Rwenzori Mountains, aka known as the “Mountains of the Moon” are mountain ranges on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The highest peak reaches 5,109 meters and is permanently snow-capped.
The marathon is officially known as the Tusker Lite Mt Rwenzori Marathon named after its sponsor, and is set to take place this year on September 3. It will be part of the Rwenzori Thelugi festival.
Organizers say they were inspired by the success of similar regional events, and the Marathon is expected to attract 2,000 runners.
Additional events will follow including climbing the mountain, going on a safari or exploring other attractions in western Re region of the country. There will also be hiking, bird watching, boat trips on the Kazinga Channel and a concert.
Local and international runners, professionals and amateurs alike, can take part in the 42km marathon, the 21km half, participate in a marathon or a 5km fun run.
Robert Kabushenga, one of the organizers, said the marathon will have more difficult terrain than those previously held in Uganda.
” Ugandans have shown great interest in participating in the various marathons and runs organized in Kampala. But among athletes and running enthusiasts there is a burning desire to run a marathon in a completely different environment. The legendary Rwenzori Mountains offer a new challenge with the bonus of a scenic backdrop,” said Kabushenga.
Organizers say it was organized to promote healthy lifestyles, highlight climate protection, and encourage sports tourism celebrate.
The run will be the third of its kind in the region, following Kenya’s Maasai Marathon, one of Africa’s most exotic treks through the remote village of Kimanjo, and Tanzania’s Kili Marathon, which draws attention to Mount Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro attracts around 50,000 hikers each year, but Uganda’s Rwenzori barely gets 1,000 annually.
“Our motherland is rich and this event will shine a spotlight on the many wonders of the Kasese region. This is a great opportunity to explore Uganda,” said Amos Wekesa, one of the organizers.