Most exotic runs: guide to Kilimanjaro Marathon, Tanzania
The world is filled with amazing places and Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is one of them. The world’s tallest freestanding mountain is a sight to behold. One of the best ways to get up close and personal with this stunning monolith is to take up a place as a runner in the Kilimanjaro Marathon, established in 2003.
Find your way to the town of Moshi. You can take up race tour packages through the organisers, Wild Frontiers, but you can easily find your own accommodations. The race is held on the Sunday nearest to the end of February. There are plenty of race options. You can compete in the full 42.2km marathon, take up the half marathon, the 5K fun run or the wheelchair/hand cycle track.
The Kilimanjaro Marathon is an ‘in-and-out’ track. Competitors begin at Moshi Stadium before heading out to Dar Es Salaam, approximately 9km away. This is the first turn around point before heading back into Moshi. Once there the track turns sharply toward Mount Kilimanjaro and an ascent begins. At the 32km mark runners are turned around to head downhill and back to Moshi Stadium for the finish. During the race there are water stations available but no food, so it might be wise to pack your own energy gels.
This is a fun race with plenty of community support. You may find crowds cheering you along the roads, through the fields and villages along with the way. Sometimes groups of children will join you for short bursts, adding a wonderfully festive feeling to the race. Be aware that the roads are not officially closed for the race. This means that competitors who cover ground early in the morning aren’t bothered by traffic, but slower competitors will compete with cars and other vehicles as they make their way through the final kilometres.
Enjoy the camaraderie of the race and the majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is a little out of the way but it’s worth coming to Africa to experience an enjoyable and exotic marathon trail.
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