Kumwamba ready for his biggest challenge in Dubai: World’s longest desert ultramarathon

Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba, says he is all set for the December 11-15 Al Marmoom Ultramarathon, which is dubbed the world’s longest desert ultra-run at 270km done in four stretches of 50km, 70km, 100km and finally 50km.

The flier marketing Kumwamba in Dubai

Kumwamba said he shall depart on December 7 and that his visa, air ticket, accommodation and registration have been completed.

“This will be my biggest challenging,” he said. “It tests the limits of human endurance and am ready and prepared both physically and mentally. The longest I have ever run is 100km, the Ultra Trail Cape Town race of South Africa.

“There are lots of competitors to take part who are ultra distance elite athletes from all over the world and the organisers have informed me  that I will be the only one representing Africa,” said Kumwamba.

Originally, Kumwamba was training for the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town race to take place on December 1 using the Mulanje Porters Race course and during the course of his training he met some tourists from Safari Tours who got interested and together they organised a race using the 24km Porters course.

He said some of the tourist were from Dubai who were impressed with his performance and after learning that he is ranked 4th in Africa, they invited him for the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon.

So he decided to skip out the Cape Town mountain trail race because they were too close to each other since after December 1 event he had to travel back to Malawi by bus, arrive on 4th then without resting depart on the 7th for Dubai via Addis Ababa.

He said his training has been well and that the past five days he has been on tapering runs, the training ultramarathoners do two weeks before the race in which they run it slow and reduce mileage like if they do 100km per week they reduce to 30km and going down.

As part of his training, Kumwamba also participated in the 42.2km Blantyre Marathon that was organized by Malawi National Council of Sports and he said he was satisfied with his time of 2:50:53hrs, which was 23:43 minutes behind the champion, Ndacha Happy Nchelenje in a time of 2:27:10.

This was his first-ever long road race and he said he was satisfied with his performance as he has gained so much experience to be used for the next marathon that might come his way.

“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.”

On September 1, Kumwamba came second in 44km Table Mountain Challenge in South Africa in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs in which there were 440 runners and the winner was a Zimbabwean, Bernard Rukadza — his most adversary.

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.

He was born in Nchathu Village, Traditional Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District and 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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5 years ago

Good Luck Edson. Events like this are all about technique and endurance over anything else. With a good mind you’ll achieve great things.

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