After a two-year break following the Covid-19 pandemic, the MTN Kampala Marathon is back, with 25,000 people expected to grace the 2022 edition of the biggest sports and social event in Uganda. We have compiled a list of 10 key facts you should know as you prepare to participate in the MTN Kampala Marathon wheelchair race this Sunday, 13th November, or run in this legendary marathon come 20th November.
Oldest: Now in its 19th year of existence, the MTN Kampala Marathon is the oldest and most consistent marathon in Uganda. It has stood the test of time, growing steadily over a 19-year period. Due to the two-year break following the Covid-19 outbreak, this will be the 17th edition of the public running in the MTN Kampala Marathon.
Biggest: From a humble beginning of 1500 participants in its inaugural run, the MTN Kampala Marathon has grown to become the biggest marathon in Uganda, attracting tens of thousands of runners year after year. So far, almost a quarter of a million people, 245,000 people to be exact, have participated in the MTN Kampala Marathon over the years. This year’s Marathon shall be graced by 25,000 participants.
Most Professional: Organized by MTN Uganda with technical support from the Uganda Athletics Federation, the MTN Kampala Marathon ranks as the most professional marathon in the EastAfrican region. The marathon attracts both professional and budding athletes who use the event as a launch pad for both their careers and upcoming competitions.
Nurturing Athletic Talent: It is the most professional Marathon in East Africa and it attracts international athletes from the region. It has also provided a launch pad for many elite athletes such as Stephen Kiprotich, Victor Kiplangat, and Dorcas Inzikuru, among others from outside Uganda, whose talent was identified and confidence boosted by the Kampala Marathon before they went ahead to shine internationally.
Cash Prizes: Although the MTN Kampala Marathon is a charity-driven marathon, the winners across the 42Km, 21Km, 10Km, and the wheelchair race get to walk away with cash prizes. This is in a bid to motivate the runners and to also attract professional athletes. This year, 46 individuals shall win a combined total of cash prizes worth Shs290,000,000. An additional Shs5,000,000 shall be won by a corporate team, to be donated to a charity of their choice.
Inclusive: Like many international Marathons that the MTN Kampala Marathon emulates and aspires to mirror, it is inclusive, with a wheelchair race that attracts a number of wheelchair users to be part of the Marathon. The wheelchair race kit is sold at a discount to encourage more participants. This year’s 10Km wheelchair race is happening this Sunday the 13th of November, ahead of the other races, to give it more prominence.
Charity-driven: All the proceeds from the MTN Kampala Marathon, since its inception have been used for charity activities aimed to improve the lives of thousands, if not millions of people in Uganda. The MTN Kampala Marathon has benefitted several causes such as helping expectant mothers with maternity kits, resettling people displaced by war in northern Uganda, delivering clean water and improving sanitation in communities/schools, and most recently, improving maternal health facilities.
Billions collected for charity: 4,480,000,000 (Four Billion Four Hundred and Eighty Million) shillings have so far been raised from the MTN Kampala Marathon. Worth noting is that in its initial year, the Marathon collected a total of Shs20 million but over the years, the figure has grown to hundreds of millions thanks to more individuals appreciating the good cause of the Marathon as well as partner sponsors such as Huawei, Stanbic Bank, Rwenzori, Vision Group and most recently, NBS Sport.
It happens every 3rd Sunday of November: The MTN Kampala Marathon is held every third Sunday of November since its inception. The only exception is only in 2007 when the date had to be adjusted due to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Uganda that year. And yes, you guessed right. It will be happening on the third Sunday of this month which happens to be the 20th. Please save the date.
Maternal Health Impact: As far as Maternal health is concerned, the child and maternity wards at Kawempe Referral Hospital in Kampala, Muyembe HC IV in Bulambuli district, Pakwach HC IV in Pakwach, Kalangala HC IV in Kalangala and Karugutu HC IV in Ntoroko district have all been refurbished with the proceeds from the 2018 and 2019 MTN Kampala Marathons with a top up from MTN Uganda. This year’s Marathon will be a building block to this impact as suggested by its theme; “Run for babies” in a bid to curb neonatal mortality in the country by supporting four selected health facilities namely, Kisenyi and Kawaala Health centers in Kampala, Kaabong health center in Karamoja and Kachumbala health center in Teso region.