Deep snow affects Kumwamba: Comes 14th at Marathon du Mont Blanc in France

Deep mountain snow affected Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba during the 90km Marathon du Mont Blanc in France on Friday, June 28 but he still came an impressive 14th position in Open male section and 18th on the Globe 2 (world class) in 12hrs 57min 25secs.

Snowy Mont Blanc
Kummwamba: Being congratulated by fans during last year’s event

This is a huge improvement from last year in which he came 20th in Open male and 32 on the Globe 2 in 14:5:25hrs.

“The only difficult part I encountered this time around was the deep snow on Mont Blanc. This year was just too much whenever I was at the top of each mountain.

“It was freezing but out of 1,700 runners, 1,300 finished and 400 dropped out. I was awarded with a finisher’s medal,” he said from Chamonix.

From Chamonix, Kumwamba will then travel to Zurich, Switzerland where he is expected to have talks with sportsgear firm, ON Running to be made as a brand ambassador. The sportsgear he used for the Marathon du Mont Blanc was sponsored by ON Running that was delivered to him whilst back home.

“I am more or less being sponsored by ON Running and I am going to spend three days in Zurich where we will have talks on our sponsorship deal as well as being their brand ambassador.

“There are also coming to Malawi to sponsor the Orbis Expeditions Challenge in Mulanje in which Dame Kelly Holmes will participate in October,” Kumwamba said.

The British double Olympics champion, Dame Holmes visited Malawi last October to take part in the Orbis Expeditions ‘Sport with a Purpose’ challenge aimed at raising funds for projects that promote good nutrition in communities.

According to information posted on www.orbis-challenge.com, the aim is to raise funds to support the work of Malawi’s Open Arms and their commitment to preventing malnutrition in children.

During her visit, she and her entourage shall visit various nutritional based projects and learn more about the vital needs for children to have access to at least one good meal a day.

Kumwamba, who managed to interact with Dame Holmes when she did her mountain trail expedition in Mulanje last October, says he is going to be part of this year’s event also playing the role of an ambassador.

“I have been informed that Dame Kelly Holmes is also trying to help athletes from Malawi and is working hand in hand with Safari RSC, a tourism company doing travel and adventure.”

The Orbis Expeditions is a series of events that includes running through the Mulanje Mountain Porters Race trail, then a cycling one in Zomba at Ku Chawe and the third at Cape Maclear in Monkey Bay that involves kayaking and swimming competitions.

Before the challenge last year, Dame Holmes met and interacted with a range of sports men and women from various sporting disciplines, including former Minister of Sports, Francis Kasaila and other government officials.

The entourage also visited Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and held a sporting masterclass at the College of Medicine Sports Complex to advance issues that are dear to her — maternal health minority sports.

She also participated in a netball tournament featuring several Blantyre-based teams aimed at building sporting links between the UK and Malawi.

Kumwamba first took part in the Du Mont Blanc two years ago in which he came 20th in his debut appearance in the very mountainous race that reaches 7,000m of climbing and having had a good experience, he now has a new race strategy this time around as he eyes the winners’ podium by having a multi-national experts as his race crew.

His supporting crew with lots of trail running experience is from Dubai, France, Switzerland, South Africa, England, Australia and Italy and will be on the route and they come from different countries,”.

“The group which is coming from SA is a trail running club called Muizenberg Trail Dawgs, which is also sponsoring my air ticket and other needs. The team which is coming from Dubai is called InnerFight Endurance and is supporting me on nutrition and running gear.

He says his goal for this year’s Du Mont Blanc marathon is to run a beautiful race and from his training schedule this year, he is stronger than last time he participated.

He was identified to be part of Du Mont Blanc when he won the Puffer 80km race in South Africa in 2017. During his inaugural participation in France, he was the only runner from Africa amongst 1,400 runners and the supporters there mistook him for a Kenyan because the Malawian flag he draped around his neck at the finish.

In March, Kumwamba came an impressive overall second place in the five-legged Sri Lanka Ultra X 250km marathon. Ultra X races take place in Sri Lanka, Jordan, Mexico and Chile.

In December last year, Kumwamba participated in the Dubai Al Marmoom Ultra-marathon, which is dubbed the world’s longest desert ultra-run in which he had bitter-sweet experience as he had to pull out of the race in the last phase due to swollen feet.

In the first stretch of 50km he came 6th, the second day’s 70km was on position 3 and the third for 100km he was second but for the last phase of 50km, his feet got swollen and after diagnosis it was discovered he had developed what is known as Illiotibia Tract — an injury to the multipurpose tendon that runs down the length of the outer thigh from the top of the pelvis (ilium) to the shin bone (tibia).

He was forced to pull out but if he had completed the final stage he would have made it into the top three.

Born in Nchathu Village, Traditional Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District , Kumwamba became interested to become an athlete when he was just nine years old when his mother used to take him to watch the Mulanje Porters Race.

After doing his studies at DAPP vocational school in welding and fabrication, he left Malawi in 2002 for greener pastures in South Africa and since he still had the passion for running, he joined the trail racing club there where he rose to prominence.

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