Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba came an impressive overall second place in the five-legged Sri Lanka Ultra X 250km marathon that took place from Monday to Friday, April 15 to 19.
He was in top form as he came first in the first leg of 37km in a time of 2:18:34hrs and was in second place for Day 2 of 55km in 5:00:10hrs.
On Day 3 of 51km, he was first in 4:12:04hrs while on 4th day of 67km he was joint first with his closest opponent in a time 5:12:29hrs before clocking on the last leg of 40km in 3:06:21hrs to come first and clinch the second place overall.
“I am so happy with this achievement as it is my inaugural race in Ultra X and the fact that finishing second overall means that I qualify for the 2021 World Championships,” Kumwamba said. “My achievements means that I am a strong Ultra runner in Africa and gives me courage to go bigger and as I am preparing to run the Mont Blanc 90km race in June in France.
“I was up against those considered the best in Ultra races — some 470 athlete who took part and about 50 athlete who couldn’t finish. This was all because of hard training I had back home following a new training program that I was provided with by my new coach who is living in Dubai and he was also with me at the race.
“The pace I took, plus the mental positivity I had to dig deeper and make my country proud pushed me to the limits in order to inspire many upcoming Malawian athletes.
“This achievement also means a lot to me and my country because the Ultra X organisers were happy with my performance and have taken on board my request if they could arrange an Ultra X Malawi soon, which will inspire young Malawians to take up this challenge,” he said.
Ultra X races take in Sri Lanka, Jordan, Mexico and Chile and Kumwamba said after he had informed them of Malawi’s mild ultra race — the Mulanje Porters Race at 23kms — the organisers were impressed to consider Malawi as a host of the Ultra X races.
“This chance can bring out hidden talent from the younsters who are running in the Porters Race. They have endurance and potential for Ultra races,” Kumwamba said.
In December, Kumwamba participated in the Dubai Al Marmoom Ultra-marathon, which 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.
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 :