Massive turn out for biggest ever Kabaka Birthday Run

Monday April 8 2019

Joy.  Thousands of people cheer as they prepare

Joy. Thousands of people cheer as they prepare for the 10km race of the Kabaka Birthday Run yesterday. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By George Katongole

Kampala. What is largely known as the most attended race that attracts both the young and old was at it again yesterday. The run which was flagged off by the Kabaka ahead of his 64th birthday celebrations at Ndejje Secondary School in Luweero had more than 60,000 runners hit the road--for the cause of sickle cell eradication as well as celebrating the Kabaka’s life.

The Kabaka Birthday Run is an annual fun run around the Mengo Palace. It officially started sixd years ago as a means for Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi to highlight and mobilise his subjects towards health causes. First, proceeds went towards fistula until three years ago when attention was turned to sickle cell.
Currently, an estimated 33,000 babies are born annually with the sickle cell disease of which, 80 per cent die before the age of five years, according to the Ministry of Health.

To add more to the fun nature of the race, there is no official finish time. Runners are welcomed as they arrive with no timers.
“To all the youths planning on marrying or getting married, I advise you all to first test the for the sickle cell disease...” Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II rallied participants before he flagged off the run.
But excited runners in the 21, 10 and 5km races passed through routes designed around the palace with the view of the iconic man-made lake which was a trully breath-taking experience on a lragely flat course that enabled both the young and old.

The course finished at the open ground in the king’s palace many spectators waving flags and cheering on the runners.
Organisers are planning to make improvements in the run but the minister of sports, youth and recreation in the Buganda Kingdom Henry Sekabembe says they are not in a rush.
“We must make calculated moves that will still keep Kabaka’s subjects interested,” he said.