Held in Masaka, the Uganda Marathon is not your typical marathon. The race is, in fact, part of a seven-day adventure in rural Uganda, where participants immerse themselves in an incredible community and get involved in a number of volunteer programs led by local organisations, before taking part in a 10km, half or full marathon, which pass through farms, villages and towns around Masaka. If you’re looking for a seriously feel-good race, this is it.
The world’s oldest ultramarathon is the Comrades Marathon in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Started by a WWI veteran to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war, the race has become a symbol for unity across the country — it even begins with a mass chorus of the traditional South African miners' song 'Shosholoza'. Interestingly, the direction of the race changes every year, with the “up” run measuring 87km and the “down” run measuring 90km. Regardless of direction, you only have 12 hours to complete the race, with five cut-off points scattered throughout the trail.
If you’re keen to truly test what your body is capable of, then consider the MdS (Marathon de Sable Morocco). This gruelling, multi-day race is the longest and hardest desert race in the world, but also one of the most life-changing. Over six days and 251km, you’ll journey through the depths of the Sahara desert, carrying all your supplies on your back. This one is extreme, but well worth it for such a unique experience.
The 4 Deserts Grand Slam
The stark landscape of the Namibian desert features in the world-renowned 4 Deserts Grand Slam. One of the most extreme annual running series, the 4 Deserts Grand Slam includes four 250 kilometre races within a year, including the Namib Race (Namibia), Gobi March (Mongolia), Atacama Crossing (Chile) and The Last Desert (Antarctica). One of Kathmandu's Adventure Sponsorship winners, ultramarathon athlete Jacqui Bell, became the youngest woman to complete all four races and is the youngest person to in the world to run a marathon on all seven continents. Watch her story below.