Malawi long distance runner comes 2nd in SA Table Mountain Challenge

South Africa-based Malawian long distance athlete Edson Kumwamba, who is making news around the world for his achievement, has come second in the 44kms Table Mountain Challenge in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs on Saturday.

Kumwamba, flying Malawi flag high

In an online interview, Kumwamba said there were 440 runners and the winner is a Zimbabwean, Bernard Rukadza, his most adversary.

He says he will be in Malawi from next week to prepare for another race, the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town, and he is going to use the course used for the Mulanje Porters Race, which was a spring board for what he is today.

“I am coming to do some training in climbing and looking for high altitude. I am preparing for 100km race in December and I am coming to Malawi because it is cold here in Cape Town.

“I will be doing the route for Porters Race and some flat along tea plantations,” Kumwamba said.

Last month, he broke the record when he won the 80km Ultra PURfeR 2018 run in which he made it in 6hrs 54mins and 20 seconds.

Very little is known about him here in Malawi and this reporter just stumbled on his existence last month through the athlete’s relation on social media.

He was born and grew up in Nchathu Village, Tradition Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District and became interested to become an athlete when he was just nine years old through the annual Porters Race when his mother used to take him to watch the races.

He started running the race in unofficial capacity because he couldn’t afford money for the entry fees, but every year he was participating unofficially for nine years until  he found sponsors for registration fees.

He did his studies at DAPP vocational school where he did welding and fabrication. Then he left Malawi and went to work in SA and since he still had the passion for running, he joined what is called trail races there and joined several other races.

His coach is Ian Waddle in Capetown specialising in long distances (Ultra distances) in the mountains only.

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, Puffer 80 km 6hrs 54 mins and Batrun 30 km in 2hrs 40min.

“I have been to France and Switzerland. In France I ran 90km and I was the only runner from Africa amongst 1,400 runners. In Switzerland I ran 45 km and I came third.”

He left Malawi in 2012 and thus he is not registered with Malawi athletic body and since he does not have any connections with athletic body, he intends to engage the services of Stella Gwaza to manage his affairs here.

“Wherever I go I proudly carry my Malawian flag,” Kumwamba said.

Gwaza, his would-be manager, says she is willing to assist Kumwamba because she has seen the talent in him.

“I have been encouraging him for some time now and he wants me to manage him here in Malawi. His main challenge is sponsorship and has asked me to try and find one but I told him that we need to make him known here.

“The rest will fall in place. It it it is going to be my first time managing a person but I am in for a challenge. I am so moved about his talent which is rare to find here in Malawi.”

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