In his first-ever long road race, Malawi’s international mountain trail long distance (Ultra marathon) specialist, Edson Kumwamba came 11th and clocked 2:50:53hrs in Sunday’s Blantyre Marathon, which is 23:43 minutes behind the champion, Ndacha Happy Nchelenje in a time of 2:27:10.
On second place was Hosea Chaola in a time 2:27:28, just 18 seconds away while Zomba-based Mphatso Nandolo, also in his maiden marathon, was third in 2:28:42.
Kumwamba said he was satisfied with his performance and he has gained so much experience to be used for the next marathon that might come his way.
“This was also part of my training for the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon in Dubai which am expecting to participate next month [December 11-15],” he said. “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 there I started pushing and 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.”
Last month, as he trained for a race in South Africa, the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town on December 1 using the Mulanje Porters Race course, Kumwamba met a group of tourists from Safari Tours and they organized a social race up the mountain.
He said some of the tourists were from Dubai and they were impressed with his performance and also after learning that he is ranked 4th in Africa on ultra marathons. The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is dubbed the longest desert marathon in the world and Kumwamba is expecting to race in 270km category — the maximum after the 50km and 100kms categories.
“The organizers of the race are looking at elite runners around the world and I made it because I am ranked 4th in Africa. They are already marketing me using fliers on various ultramarathon websites, posters and on TV adverts.
“So I am going back to my training having learnt a lot from the Blantyre Marathon. From here I shall see if I can get myself recognized in other marathons and I will try my luck using South Africa where they organize several marathons.”
Kumwamba, who was based in South Africa until last September where he shot to fame in international long haul mountain trail races, returned to his home village in Mulanje to train for the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town and whilst in the country, he learnt about the Blantyre Marathon and it spurred his interest to take part in this conventional long road distance race.
He says he harbours the dream of one day participating in one of the world marathons where Kenyans and Ethiopians reign supreme.
On 1st September, Kumwamba came second in 44kms Table Mountain Challenge in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs. Through various accomplishments in South Africa, France and Switzerland, Kumwamba is making news around the world and in the Table Mountain Challenge, 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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :