Malawi’s international mountain trail running (Ultra marathon) specialist, Edson Kumwamba has taken a step further by organising his own race — a 30km trail course to be held in his home district of Mulanje on June 21.
It’s been named Legend Trail Challenge Series as the race will be in three legs, first leg in Mulanje, second in Thyolo while the third’s logistics will be communicated later.
“Those that shall run and finish all the series will be labeled as ‘The Legend’,” says Kumwamba. “It has attracted elite athletes and beginners as well as foreigners living in the country have registered to take part.”
“I have received positive support from lots of people because they want to stay fit and healthy, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected athletes due to long hours they have been forced to stay at home.
“As of now, I have managed to get hand sanitisers to ensure the safety of the competitors and other health safety stuff from Candlex.”
He said he decided to create the route because there is only one trail race in Malawi — the annual Mulanje Mountain Porter’s Race.
“So trail runners just train only for one race in a year and that means there is really not much in terms of competitive spirit or any development of trail athletes here in Malawi.
“So, by creating more trail races, it will encourage more trail athletes and produce more future Ultra-Trail enthusiasts,” he said.
He added that though this is a trail race, it doesn’t go up the mountain like the Porter’s Race since it be run around the Mulanje communities to create more hype because the athletes will be more visible than on the mountain trail.
He is still looking for more sponsors to assist in various ways like providing water and any other little assistance which will help to encourage the local runners.
“We are also still organising the prizes and thus I am still in talks with various potential sponsors,” he said.
Last year, Kumwamba formed an athletics club in Mulanje, which participated well in the Blantyre City Marathon held on September 9, 2019.
One athlete Jafali Jossam managed to be on the winners podium by clinching third place in a time of 2:34:37hrs in his first-ever 42.2km marathon and he was just shy by 5:01 minutes away from the champion, Mphatso Nadolo, who clocked 2:29:38.
Kumwamba club had six athletes with women category being represented by Dorothy Gawani, who came 4th in 3:18:58, which was 13:03 minutes from champion — South Africa-based Nalicy Chirwa, who finished in 3:05:55.
And she was behind last year’s champion, Theresa Master, who clocked 3:17:11, to claim third place. The women’s second position was taken by last year’s runner-up, Doris Fisher in 3:16:31.
The other Mulanje athletes were Elias Chapola, who was 6th in 2:40:02; Kumwamba himself on 7th in 2:41:38; Evance Nyazule on 15th in 2:58:36 while Yohane Dalion was 24th in 3:28:34.
Kumwamba rose to prominence in ultra races whilst in South Africa and some of the races he has done include Al Marmoom Ultramarathon in Dubai, which is dubbed the longest desert marathon in the world at 270km.
In South Africa, he has done 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town, 44kms Table Mountain Challenge, 90km Marathon du Mont Blanc in France among many others.
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 before relocating back home two years ago.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :