Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba leaves for Sri Lanka on Friday to race in the Ultra X 250km marathon to take place from Monday, April 15 to 19 and he is confident of making a difference and put Malawi on the map.
The whole of last month, he had undergone rigorous training using the trail terrain that is used for the Mulanje Mountain Porters Race under the guidance of a Dubai-based coach.
“I am all set from the hard training I’ve had throughout last month and a better part of April and I followed a new training program that I was provided with by my new coach who is living in Dubai and he is also going to be there at the race,” Kumwamba said.
“I am very grateful to the race organisers, who injected new confidence in me by inviting me to be part of this event after seeing what I am capable of following my participation of the Dubai Al Marmoom Ultra-marathon that took place last December.
“They are the ones who will be hosting me and they will welcome me at the airport and we are in constant touch to make sure I will have a safe journey and that I will have everything I need ready for me.
“Kerrie Alder, the one who sponsored my flight ticket to Dubai is making sure that I have everything handy for the event that might change my life for the better. She was also one of the team members who came to Malawi for the Orbis Challenge [with Dame Kelly Holmes] last year and we met in Dubai.
“She is so supportive and kind, the only remaining kindness I can repay her and the organisers is for me to do what I know best and make them and Malawi 🇲🇼 proud and also to make my dream come to reality.”
According to srilankaultra-x.co, this is a series of five stages of racing the 250km over 5 days that come in April. For 2019 it starts with Sri Lanka then Jordan in October and Mexico in November.
The first stage is at 37km, the second at 55km, the third at 51km, the 4th at 67km and 40km for the final stage.
Kumwamba said he will try to convince the organisers of the Ultra X 250km races to consider Malawi as one of the host countries other than just having it in Sri Lanka, Jordan, Mexico and Chile.
“Malawi has a mild ultra race — the Mulanje Porters Race at 23kms — but we need to have serious Ultra races so that we can also host international Ultra runners to Malawi and bring out hidden talent from the younsters who are running in the Porters Race. They have endurance and potential for Ultra races.”
The Dubai Al Marmoom Ultra-marathon which Kumwamba raced in December 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 he says if he had completed the final stage he would have made it into the top three.
“Otherwise I am glad that I have experienced and learnt some lessons it being my first desert race. I have been invited again for next year’s event but it will be 300km.”
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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :