Ugandans take on world marathons

Team Matooke during the flag-off. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Over 10 Ugandans and some expatriates will be in action at the 56km ultra Two Oceans run in Cape Town this weekend, Boston Marathon on Monday, and London next Sunday. 

Fifteen runners from Uganda's Team Matooke Running Club will be in action across the world in the next nine days.

Majority of these will be running the iconic Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town, South Africa tomorrow while one - Ronnie Namugera - is Uganda's sole representative at USA's Boston Marathon on Monday.

The other four including Robert Okudi, John Musiime, Will Davison and Alvin Mbugua will test the streets of London in the United Kingdom next Sunday.

Albert Marvin, an accountant with Africa Global Logistics Uganda as the Financial Credit Manager, will test his endurance in his third (2022, 2023, 2024) Two Oceans race this Saturday.


"Two Oceans offers that strength as you have to run through Table Mountain and along the shores of Indian and Atlantic oceans with windy and cold breeze weather," Marvin told the Daily Monitor before departing for Cape Town.

Marvin, who also has one Major - the Berlin Marathon - under his belt, will next focus on the approximately 90km Comrades Marathon in Durban on June 9.

For him, running is more than just that. 

"The training discipline, the happiness you get after a run even if it’s a one kilometer run, the friends we meet that are very joyous and helpful and mostly healthy living keep me going. 

"To be honest it’s been almost 12 years in running and I have not been sick but we give glory to God for such talent."

Mental, emotional therapy

Fiona Ssozi, one of only two ladies on the contingent - the other being Carol Nteeba -, will also be attempting the 56km of the Two Oceans.

"This year," narrated Ssozi, an academician at Makerere University and one of the organisers of the upcoming Legends Marathon in Kampala, "I set out to do things that scare me.

"Last year I pushed beyond the 42km to 50km. And this year, the plan is to challenge the body.

"That was my motivation for signing up for Comrades as well."

Ssozi added: "Running has been mental and emotional therapy for me.

"While I exercise the physical body, am decluttering my emotional and mental self. I love the lone long road for that."

Alex Matovu, Edward Ssenteza, Comrades finishers Moses Rutahigwa and Godfrey Kamya, plus Stephen Mugabe are the other representatives at the Two Oceans. 

Solo at Boston

In the States, Namugera - an engineer at the Uganda Road Fund - will be carrying Uganda's flag at the Boston Marathon, which will be his fourth Major. 

Namugera has already run New York, London and  Berlin Marathons, and has also already qualified for Chicago Marathon in October. 

"By end of this year," shared Namugera, "I will be a 5-star General. So my plan is to do extremely well in Chicago in October so that I qualify for Tokyo 2025."

You need to run a recognised 42km marathon in under two hours and 32 minutes for men to qualify for the Tokyo Marathon, and three hours and 19 minutes for women.

"If my dream happens I will have done all six Majors in three and half Years." Namugera's first Major was New York in 2022.

"After the six Majors," Namugera determined, "I will hunt down the Comrades (approximately 90km in South Africa).

Like most of the employed recreational runners, Namugera plans his leave days to accommodate his important runs. 

While most of these runners sponsor themselves, Namugera is fortunate to have some engineering companies like Dynaco, Ismat and Lemington topping up on his savings.  

Running for late mum

Across in London, British national Will Davison - just like Americans Andu Debebe and Girum Fisseha at the Two Oceans in Cape Town - will also be flying Uganda's flag under Team Matooke. 

A high school language and literature teacher, WILL will be following in the footsteps of three of his brothers Charlie, Arthur, and Oscar by running the London Marathon in aid of Sarcoma UK.

Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer and campaigns for better treatments.

Will and his brothers "runs are all for Sharon Davison, our wonderful, wonderful mother, who lost her battle with Leiomyosarcoma in 2018," Davison told us before flying to London.

"Mum was a keen runner, and as with so many other ways in which we live our lives, this is one way in which we can keep her legacy going."

Their mum was first diagnosed with sarcoma in 2012. Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue and is difficult to diagnose and extremely hard to treat.

Ugandans have also increasingly taken to running for causes, with the Kabaka Birthday Run leading in Buganda Kingdom's fight against HIV/Aids. 

The Legends Marathon due April 20, in partnership with Nation Media Group, is another one where Ugandans will be running for athletes and the community's empowerment for life after active service.

Upcoming Events  


Saturday, April 13: Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km, 21km), Cape Town

1.Marvin Albert
2.Alex Matovu
3.Andu Debebe
4.Edward Ssenteza
5.Fiona Ssozi
6.Girum Fisseha
7.Moses Rutahigwa  
8.Stephen Mugabe
9.Carol Rita Nteeba
10.Godfrey Kamya

Monday, April 15: Boston Marathon, USA

1. Ronnie Namugera

Sunday, April 21: London Marathon, UK

1. Robert Okudi
2. John Musiime
3. Will Davison 
4. Alvin Mbugua