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Irish media names Ugandan marathon among top 5 events to sign up for in 2024

A local media in Ireland has listed Uganda’s Tusker Lite Rwenzori Marathon among top five events to look forward to in 2024.

In an article published on January 10, 2024; Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland’s National Public Service Media, ranks Rwenzori Marathon along with U.K.’s Kielder Marathon, Pursuit in Paradise (Cook Islands), Almaty Marathon of Kazakhstan and The La Valette Marathon of Malta.

Below, we reproduce their work.

The start of the new year means a fresh exercise regime. But how many people actually stick to their intentions?

One way to keep focus is by enrolling in a 42km marathon or half-marathon. Even training for a shorter 5km will improve fitness levels.

The Irish Life Dublin Marathon takes place on 27 October 2024 and weaves through the city, but running in marathons and smaller races around the world is an interesting way to see more countries, as well as keep the motivation high.

To stay motivated, opt for a race taking place in an exotic or unusual destination where the emphasis isn’t only on crossing the finish line.

For a warm up, take a look at these mega races taking place in the UK, Europe and further afield.

1. The La Valette Marathon, Malta

When: 24 March.
Temperature: 17C, sunny.

Brush up on historical knowledge while pounding ancient pavements and weaving through archaeological ruins on an island inhabited since 5900 BC. Now in its third edition, this culturally rich route starts at Bahar ic Caghaq village and hugs the Mediterranean coastline, passing through an open-air museum of medieval fortifications and iconic landmarks. Options for a half marathon and slower 21km Walkathon are also available.

Entry: €59.95 for the full marathon.

2. Almaty Marathon, Kazakhstan

When: 29 September.
Temperature: 24C, sunny.

Have friends reaching for their Atlases to pinpoint the route of this offbeat race through Central Asia. Claiming to be the region’s biggest running competition, the event takes place in capital Almaty and forms two laps around the city framed by snow-dusted mountains. A portion of the entry fee goes to charity and has been invested in improving sports infrastructure for disabled children in the past. Only 15,600 places are available, so sign up soon. A half marathon and 10km Nordic Walking race is also possible.

Entry: 12,500 KZT/€29.20 for the full marathon.

3. Pursuit in Paradise, Cook Islands

When: 29 April-2 May.
Temperature: 28C, hot and humid – although the race starts at 5.30am to beat the heat.

Arguably, most runners are too focused on the finish line to appreciate their surroundings. But it would be a crime not to look up and admire the scenery of Aitutaki in the South Pacific. An atoll island ringed by coral enclosing a vast lagoon, the remote destination is a favourite with honeymooners and is the perfect place to rest and recuperate after a long run. A half-marathon and 10km race is also possible.

Entry: $225 NZD/€128 per person for all races.

4. Active Northumberland Kielder Marathon, UK

When: 5-6 October.
Temperature: 11C, with a possibility of rain.

Dubbed Britain’s most beautiful marathon, this route along the Scottish Borders follows an almost entirely off-road course around northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, Kielder Water. Being hill country, there are a few inclines in store and trail running shoes might be a good option. For the seriously hardcore, there’s a Gravel Duathlon, which involves a bike ride. Kids can also compete in a Junior Race.

Entry: £44/€51 for the full marathon. 

5. Rwenzori Marathon, Uganda

When: 24 August.
Temperature: 22C, warm and humid with a possibility of rain.

Named the “Mountains of the Moon” by ancient astronomer and geographer Ptolemy, the Rwenzori range features the third highest peak in Africa yet receives only a thousand or so visitors per year – a tiny percentage of the number visiting Kilimanjaro. Launched by company Equator Hikes to raise exposure of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and support local communities, the race – which can also be done as a half marathon and 5km fun run – passes through the foothills, but still expect an elevation gain of 800 metres at a maximum altitude of 1,295 metres above sea level on the longer stint. After the race (and recovery), head to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to track gorillas.

Entry: $60USD/€55 for the full marathon.

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