Kumwamba forms an athletics club in Mulanje: Set for Blantyre Marathon

Malawi’s international mountain trail long distance (Ultra marathon) specialist, Edson Kumwamba has formed an athletics club in Mulanje, which currently preparing to stamp its authority at the forthcoming Blantyre City Marathon, scheduled for next month.

The new club hard at training
Kumwamba after finishing the 2019 Mulanje Porters Race
Nyazule and Theresa Master, the Porters Race champs

So far Mulanje Athletic Club has 20 athletes both male and female and Kumwamba says they are still receiving more interests.

“Amongst them are this year’s Mulanje Mountain Porters Race men’s winner Evance Nyazule as well as Theresa Master and Dorothy Gawani, who came second and third respectively.

“All the men and six of the girls all did the Porters Race. According to the training programme we are following and based on their performance, I intend to field 15 runners for the Blantyre Marathon.

“Our plan is to hit the Blantyre Marathon by storm. Last year, two of Mulanje athletes, Theresa Master and Doris Fisher came first and second and the rest of my squad are yearning to do well and monopolies the top 10 in both categories.”

Master was champion in a time of 3:19:49 while Fisher, who has since relocated to South Africa where she joined an athletic club, was runner-up in in 3:20:37.

Just last month, Fisher beat Master during the Mulanje Porters race and this rivalry will definitely manifest itself again during the Blantyre Marathon.

Kumwamba, who rose to prominence in ultra races whilst in South Africa, relocated back to his home in Mulanje last year just in time for the Blantyre Marathon, in which he came 11th in his first-ever long road race, in which he clocked 2:50:53hrs, some 23:43 minutes behind the champion, Happy Nchelenje who finished in a time of 2:27:10.

He had said he was satisfied with his performance as he gained so much experience to be used for the next marathon that might come his way and it was also part of his training for the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon in Dubai which participated in December.

“Being my first long road race, and that I didn’t know the route very well, I took it easy at the beginning until I reached the halfway mark from where I started pushing but I realized this was too late.

“In front of me there were several runners and I overtook them and at the last check point, I was told that I was 15th and I went on to overtake four more before entering into the Kamuzu Stadium.

“I have learnt quite a lot and I am happy that I am in the record books of the athletics association. I wished though I could have been inside the cut off time [which was set at 2:45hrs] but this was part of my training for the Dubai race.”

He just just returned from a race in South Africa, the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town and also after racing the 44kms Table Mountain Challenge in which he came second.

The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is dubbed the longest desert marathon in the world at 270km.

Last month, he was in France for his second 90km Marathon du Mont Blanc finishing 14th position in Open male section and 18th on the Globe 2 (world class) in 12:57:25, a huge improvement from last year in which he came 20th in Open male and 32 on the Globe 2 in 14:5:25.

Some of the races he has been on the podium for include: Ultra Trail Capetown 100km, Jongershoek Mountain Challenge 38km, Puffer 80Km, Mont Blanc 90km (France), Mulanje Porters Race 24km, Marloth Mountain Challenge 55km, Batrun 30km, Table Mountain Challenge 44km, Dryland Traverse 110km and Salomon Bastille Day 35km.

Some of  his personal records are three, Bastille Day 35 km in 2hrs 56min, the 80km Ultra PURfe 6hrs 54 mins (which was a record done in August) and Batrun 30 km in 2hrs 40min.

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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