Monday, 12 June 2017

Malawi – Running Wild

May 21-28

Hello everyone!

Malawi is a great place for people who like being outdoors. This is partly because regular power cuts (though these have lessened significantly since the rains arrived) stop you from spending all of your spare time watching TV or staring at a computer screen, but it is also because the weather is wonderful. It’s perfect for sporting pursuits.

Lilongwe Colour Run

Lilongwe Triathlon

May is a particularly pleasant month: the threat of rain has gone and the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. One less excuse for avoiding the Lilongwe Triathlon.

May is the first month of the year in which the
average temperature drops below 20'C

The swimming section took place in our
school's pool
 I’ve done a triathlon before in Kazakhstan but the Lilongwe version was organised more efficiently. Only two people in a swimming lane this time, avoiding the mass pile-up which happened in the Astana pool. Proper distances for a sprint triathlon as well.

Olympic distance triathletes started at 6am - I
was in the pool at 8:30am...

...which meant the Sun was quite
hot by the time I finished!

As my training had been slack/non-existent, my aim was simply to finish. The swim was cold, the bike was surprisingly enjoyable (save for the pothole-heavy hill we had to scale just before returning to transition) and the run was, as expected, the easiest bit. The best part of the run for me was little children sprinting along with me through the suburbs to the south of the school.

Con of using a helmet you're not used
to - you look like an idiot

The run snaked through the southern section of the city

I finished in one hour and forty-two minutes, which I’m happy enough about. Next year I’ve decided to do the Olympic distance, which Hannah completed this time. 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. Might need to actually train for that one.

Hannah finishing one of her 60 lengths

Hannah finished in under 3 hours, an
amazing achievement

The following Sunday was spent just outside Lilongwe, in the grounds of Kumbali Lodge. This place is famous for being Madonna’s place of rest when she comes to visit and adopt, though among the expat community it’s known as a great place for running and cycling trails.

We had entered a 10km race, which quickly turned into a lot more when my group got confused by the markings.

The countryside at Kumbali

This event, however, was all about the Colour Run which happened after. This was lots of fun, especially when many children from my class magically appeared, intent on getting one over on their teacher just before the end of the school year.

Clothes quickly changed from white to rainbow colours

The girl on the left, from my class, getting her revenge
at the end of the Colour Run

Admittedly, the two events were expat-heavy, probably due to the fact that they were on Sundays and the entry fees constituted a large percentage of the average monthly wage. In spite of this, it was nice to see that Lilongwe can put on events like this which have a high turnout of people and are very enjoyable to participate in.

Love you all


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