Monthly Archives: October 2012

Rock City Marathon


Marathon T-Shirt

Or despite what the t-shirt says, half marathon, 21 kilometres (21.34km on google earth measurements). Yesterday, Sunday 28th October I completed the half marathon that is held annually here in Mwanza, I can’t give an accurate time as there was no timing mechanism for the average runner and I forgot to wear my watch and there was no large electronic clock mounted on a rig at the finish line to go through arms held high! Don’t think I did anything impressive but this was my first half marathon with limited training and something to build on.

I trained with the second fastest mzungu (white person) in Mwanza which was good when I actually managed it but unfortunately this only turned out to be 4 times prior to the race. I could really feel the value of our final training run (a 15km run the week before) when it came to endurance and also when tackling the 4 fairly hefty hills on the course. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite keep up the pace of the training runs, particularly at the start of the race where it took me a good 5km to get my legs working by which time I had already lost quite a bit of time (maybe a better warm up was required).

The race itself was good fun however, competing with a range of local runners who are all talented however little (if any) training they have done. However, it was great to see a selection of national jerseys on the start line, including Qatar, Kenya and of course a selection of Tanzanian national runners all of whom must have done quite a bit further if you include all their laps of the warm-up track! It was also great to see a selection of runners in flip flops and bare feet; I’m sure many of whom managed to beat me!

Mzungu Start

You can just see my light blue shorts and 1 1/2 legs behind Annabelle in the beige t-shirt (photo from

Marathon Start

Marathon Start (pic taken from

I did however discover the pitfalls of long distance running, such as a blister that put my participation in doubt!

Foot Blister

This put me out of doing sport the week before the run!

And chaffing on the nipples that led to quite a blood stained shirt!

Nipple Chaffing

Didn’t realise this had happened till my friends pointed it out at the finish line! Was a painful post race shower

It seems from comments I have seen that the Rock City Marathon was on the same day as the Great South Run? Although the weather may actually have been comparable (it stayed cloudy the whole time praise the Lord!) I think I have to claim our run as much harder thanks to the altitude here – think about running somewhere between the top of Snowdon and Ben Nevis!

The race organisation had it’s ups and downs; it started just a few minutes late…but I could get water at 2 of the 5 water stations as they had already run out (possibly a motivation to be a front runner), and I did very much enjoy wearing my¬†race number which was nicely hand painted¬† on canvas (got quite attached to my 12-xxi but had to hand it in to claim my t-shirt). Dissapointingly, the 7AM start did preclude Naomi from supporting me as she couldn’t quite make it out of bed for the 5AM breakfast and 6AM leave!

Overall a good experience and writing this the day after only my left knee and right nipple still hurt! Next stop, the Kilimanjaro half/marathon! And it’s never too late to sponsor me – I ran in aid of the UK charity that supports our work here – Cheka Sana Children’s Trust. I didn’t want to ask sponsorship prior to the race as I wasn’t sure I’d be running (and I was never quite sure it would definately go ahead) but if you would like to make a donation to the projects we would be very grateful – just click through the link below. Thank you! DONATE!