Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sweat and Pain for Mama

So, the Kampala Marathon is successfully behind us and we have gotten the results. I have just checked and this is how it went down for me:

Distance: 10 km
Category: Open

Overall: I was the 4,874th out of 6,151 who finished the race. This means I beat 1,277 to the finish line.

Gender: Among the men, I was the 3,862th out of 4,326 men who reached the finishing line. I outperformed 464 other men.

Other vital stats: I ran the race in 1 hour, 27 mins and 3 seconds at an average speed of 6.89 km/hr. This means it took me [on average] 8 minutes and 42 seconds for each kilometre. In the Open category, I was 3,747th beating 445 others.

All these results were faithfully collected by a chip [whose code was or is 2MKZ53Z] that was tied tight to my shoelaces of my right shoe.

For me, the achievement is finishing the race without hardly any prior training but on will and determination.

Ultimately, this is my humble contribution to helping mothers/expectant mothers in northern Uganda return to their homes with a Mama Bag and Return Kit and rebuild their lives [See my previous post].

PS: I have recovered from the muscle aches in my legs and shoulders....The outcome of my participation is appreciation for keeping fit. I promised to jog more often and exercise regularly.

PPS: According to this article in The New Vision newspaper, out of the 10,800 who registered, the race computers registered 7,019 and up to 3,800 didn't turn up or failed to make it to the end. As a participant who was doing it for a noble cause, I thank all those who registered....because their contribution [through the registration fee] will go towards those mothers and families who are going back home after decades in those awful and squalid IDP camps.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Running for fun, running for money but for a noble cause

When the 4th Annual MTN-branded Kampala Marathon is held on Sunday 23rd November 2008 under the theme "Mama Bag and Return Kit", after the prize money has been won and other accolades awarded, the major beneficiary will be the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS).

The humanitarian organisation is on a drive to raise a total of Shs. 100 million (US$ 51,020) for the resettlement of expectant mothers and their families that were displaced by the two-decades war in northern Uganda. In associating with MTN, the event sponsors, URCS is banking on the magnanimity of the corporate organisations, professional athletes and individuals who have registered for the event. Already, URCS has a reason to smile because the overwhelming response that had the organisers extending the deadline for registration from 31 October 2008 by a week. This marathon is part of a series of fundraising drives, including an Annual Dinner Dance and a Golf Tournament, which URCS has carried out to support its causes and work.

To register for the race, individuals paid Shs. 5,000 (US$2.55) while corporate teams paid Shs. 500,000 (US$ 255). The race is divided in a number of categories: 42 km [where the participants have to be above 18 years], 21 km and 10 km Open [age limit is 16 years], 21 km and 10 km Corporate Challenges, 10 km Wheelchair Race, and 10 km Master's Race where participants have to be above 50 years.

The money that will be raised is to be used for "Mama Bags" and "Return Kits" for 2,000 families that are returning from internally displaced persons' (IDP) camps. Mama Bag contains materials that assist expectant mothers and enable them have a safe delivery, while the Return Kit contains basic farming equipment. According to the information booklet, "a mother, the un-born child, the father and other children will be able to benefit hence making the number of beneficiaries bigger than the target".

Mama Bag was established in 2004 and over the last three years, a total of 6,000 mothers in IDP camps have been supported. The Return Kit has been added as a component to encourage the returnees engage in agriculture for sustenance and income generation.

However, the smiles will be on the faces of the winners of the different race categories. Shs. 5 million (US$2,550) is the top prize for the 42 km, Shs. 3 million (US$1,530) for the 21 km, Shs. 1.4 million (US$714) for the 10 km and the same amount for the 10 km Wheelchair Race, and Shs. 500,000 (US$255) for the 10 km Masters' Race.

At the finish line, whether the aim was fun or money, expectant mothers and families in the North will have gained from that sweat. The media advertisement for the marathon has the catch-phrase "Run for fun, run for life" which captures what this is about.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Now that Obama-mania is burning out, I can blog

The Obama-mania kept me busy writing, these are some of the stories I put out on this blog, BBC radio’s World Have Your Say website and The New Vision, a daily newspaper in Uganda—Feel free to add comments on these articles:

Are We Pre-Occupied with Obama and America

Is Obama Win the Biggest Moment in Black History?

My Ranting Response to Obama's Nomination Win

Is Obama really an inspiration?

Malcolm X was truly an inspiration, Obama is not

This post was initially left empty symbolically (save for the title) but it being the third most referred to post on this blog, I decided to fill the space with my writings on the subject