Kumwamba’s Dubai coach honours pledge on donation of running shoes after Porters Race

After successfully participating in the 23rd Mulanje Mountain Porters Race, Marcus Smith from Dubai — who is coach for Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba — presented the pledge he made of a donation of running shoes for underprivileged young runners.

The shoes donated
Kumwamba (centre) and his Dubai coaches

The donation was presented a day after the Porters Race at Likhubula where the event starts and finishes.

He came second in the race in a time of 3:00:39hrs in the international category that was won by Marc Henrion in 3:00:30 while South African volunteer doctor, Peter Schnellus of Mulanje Mission Hospital was third in 3:02:26.

“This has been an amazing experience for me,” Smith said. “It was a very good feeling to have race with very friendly people all along the course.

“And like what Edson said, I witnessed myself how the youths enjoy their participation yet most of them them run barefoot. This is a very tough race and it is amazing that these youths can manage to finish it running in bare feet.

“So we brought with us running shoes weighing over 56kgs which we will distribute to some of the kids Edson and I identified,” said Smith, who became Kumwamba’s coach after his participation in the Dubai Al Marmoom Ultra-marathon in December, which is dubbed the world’s longest desert ultra-run.

Kumwamba, who came 8th in the race in a time of 2:24:57, was participating just two weeks after racing in the 90km Marathon du Mont Blanc on June 28 in Chamonix, France in which he came an impressive 14th position in Open male section and 18th on the Globe 2 (world class) in 12:57:25.

And after he had marketed the Porters Race there, his coach and another colleague decided to sample for themselves what it takes in this Malawi’s own version of ultra trail running that was won by Doris Fisher in the women’s section for the fourth consecutive year in a time of 2:42:43hrs to retain the title she won last year in a time of 2:38hrs.

Her runner-up was her rival Theresa Master in 3:19:49 while Dorothy Gawani was third in 2:55:31.

The men’s section was won by Evance Nyazulu in 2:07:06 with Charles Musowa as runner-up in 2:08:28 and Boniface Pangani on third in 2:09:02.

The Mulanje Porters Race is Kumwamba’s springboard to stardom in which he started participating as young as nine years old when his mother used to take him to watch the races.

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.

Smith also intends to participate in Orbis Expeditions ‘Sport with a Purpose’ challenge in October in which British double Olympics champion, Dame Kelly Holmes is expected to attend for the second year running.

Kumwamba, who interacted with Dame Holmes when the challenge took place along the Porters Race course, is also playing the role of an ambassador.

The Orbis Expeditions is a series of events that includes running through the Mulanje Mountain Porters Race trail, then a cycling one in Zomba at Ku Chawe and the third at Cape Maclear in Monkey Bay that involves kayaking and swimming competitions.

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