As the sun rose at about 7:17am yesterday, a sea of participants clad in red bibs descended down the famous Kabaka Anjagala Road before turning right at the iconic Nantawetwa roundabout.
This is a straight link from the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s Lubiri palace to Bulange in Mengo.
About 10 minutes earlier, High Royal Highness Mutebi, flanked by Princess Katrina Ssangalyambogo, had flagged off the nearly 30000 runners for the Airtel Kabaka Birthday Run amid glee.
“We go, we go,” the masses chanted as they split routes for 5km, 10km and 21km races. Actually, some traffic officers and course marshals were overwhelmed by the soaring numbers.
The event, on its fifth edition, was organised to celebrate Kabaka’s birthday as he turns 61 on Wednesday.
But also, the bigger notion was to keep participants healthy as they contribute in the fight against fistula disease among the women in Uganda. “I thank everyone especially the men who have come to help fight this disease through this Run,” said Dr. Florence Nalubega from Kitovu Hospital.
According to Nalubega, this facility has treated 740 fistula patients (420 had surgeries) in the last two years through support from this Run.
The Run attracted people from all walks of life including newly elected politicians like the Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, Kyadondo South MP Kato Lubwama, Kasanda South MP Simeo Nsubuga.
Artistes Bobi Wine, Big Eye, Bakuzala Mu Baala hit singer Daxx Kartel, footballer Yayo Lutimba, kickboxer Ronald Mugula, traffic jam, selfies and merrymaking were all part of the Lubiri conversation.
“I thank the Almighty God who has guided the High Highness the Kabaka to 61 years young,” Lukwago said as his supporters cheered.
“This day is a memorable one as I have made to work out my body. I began the race in the 21km category but ended up doing only 5km.”
AIRTEL KABAKA BIRTHDAY RUN
5km: John Bogere
10km: John Kateregga & Koli Evaline Ocen
21km: Sadiq Bahati