Kumwamba pleads for sponsorship to run in Iranian race

South Africa-based Malawian long distance athlete Edson Kumwamba, who is making news around the world for his achievement, has been invited to participate in Iranian Silk Road Ultramarathon from September 29 to October 8 but he needs to pay for his own air ticket.

Kumwamba, gaining international recognition

He has been offered free accomodation and entry  and all he needs is to find himself in Iran. He needs to confirm his participation by Sunday, September 9.

Kumwamba, who came second in the 44kms Table Mountain Challenge in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs last Saturday, says he cannot afford the cost of the ticket and appeals to well wishers for support for him to raise the Malawi flag higher.

He will be in Malawi from next week to prepare for another race in South Africa, the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town, and he is going to use the course used for the Mulanje Porters Race, which was a spring board for what he is today.

“I am coming to do some training in climbing and looking for high altitude. I am preparing for 100km race in December and I am coming to Malawi because it is cold here in Cape Town.

“I will be doing the route for Porters Race and some flat along tea plantations to also prepare for the Iran race if I do receive sponsorship for the airticket,” he said.

Last month, he broke the record when he won the 80km Ultra PURfeR 2018 run in which he made it in 6hrs 54mins and 20 seconds.

According to organisers, World Running Academy Extreme  Races, the race is scheduled in two formats: the Integral 250 km (6 stages – 35/45 km per day with a long section of 70 km) and the Lite 150 km (6 stages – 20/30 km per day with a long section of 40 km).

“Athletes who run the Lite will have the advantage of being directly transported by jeep to the first checkpoint to run the daily stage. The two races, however, will share the same path, the same tented camps and will have the same time duration.

“All participants will carry their backpack (recommended maximum weight of about 10 kg) which will contain clothing, freeze-dried food – minimum 18,000 kcal and mandatory equipment. Athletes will depart from the tented camp in the morning.

“Each camp includes sleeping tents, supplies of hot and cold water, a medical tent (doctors, nurses and medical equipment), a media tent (computer, wireless and satellite phone), 4WD veichles and personnel for transfer and camps assembly/disassembly.

“The race will take place in total safety, with medical and nursing staff present at checkpoints about every 10 kilometers path and tented camps, two to three jeeps with a doctor and nurse on board plus medical supplies.

In an online interview, Kumwamba said there were 440 runners and the winner is a Zimbabwean, Bernard Rukadza, his most adversary.

Kumwamba was born and grew up in Nchathu Village, Tradition Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District and became interested to become an athlete when he was just nine years old through the annual Porters Race when his mother used to take him to watch the races.

He started running the race in unofficial capacity because he couldn’t afford money for the entry fees, but every year he was participating unofficially for nine years until  he found sponsors for registration fees.

The athlete did his studies at DAPP vocational school where he did welding and fabrication. Then he left Malawi and went to work in SA and since he still had the passion for running, he joined what is called trail races there and joined several other races.

His coach is Ian Waddle in Capetown specialising in long distances (Ultra distances) in the mountains only.

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.

His personal records are three, Bastille Day 35 km in 2hrs 56min, Puffer 80 km 6hrs 54 mins and Batrun 30 km in 2hrs 40min.

“I have been to France and Switzerland. In France I ran 90km and I was the only runner from Africa amongst 1,400 runners. In Switzerland I ran 45 km and I came third.”

He left Malawi in 2012 and thus he is not registered with Malawi athletic body and since he does not have any connections with athletic body and has engaged the services of Stella Gwaza to manage his affairs here.

“Wherever I go I proudly carry my Malawian flag,” Kumwamba said.

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Eish I hope Major 1 has seen this and will contact you ukadikila my government here forget ….. Our Prophet Major 1 Do something papa only Ticket Papa Do something to this Man Papa, I know your God Never fails Papa Iyeeeeeeeee!!!!!

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