Malawi’s mountain trail athlete Kumwamba to race in world’s longest desert ultra-run in Dubai

By: Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba has been invited to participate for a race in December in Dubai called the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon, which is dubbed the world’s longest desert ultra-run.

Kumwamba is based in South Africa where he specialised in mountain trail races called ultra marathons and has participated in several international races there as well as in France and Switzerland.

He is in the country in Mulanje since September to train for the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town race also in December using the Mulanje Porters Race course, which was a springboard that shot him to fame.

The 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town race is on December 1 while the Dubai event is from December 11-15 and he has decided to skip out the Cape Town one since he also intends to try a shot at the forthcoming Blantyre Marathon, which the Malawi National Council of Sports is organizing for November 18.

Kumwamba said last month, he and 30 tourists from Safari Tours organised a race using the 24km Porters course and some of them were from Dubai who were impressed with his performance and they invited him for the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon.

He is being widely marketed through fliers posted on the organisers’ website.

“There are three races, 50km, 100km and 250km and I will choose either the 100km or the 270km one,” he said. “I am invited for the Dubai race because they were looking for elite Ultra runners around the world. I am ranked 4th in Africa.”

On September 1, Kumwamba came second in 44km Table Mountain Challenge in South Africa in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs in which there were 440 runners and the winner was a Zimbabwean, Bernard Rukadza — his most adversary.

He then came back to his home village in Mulanje to prepare for the 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town he learnt of the forthcoming Blantyre Marathon which made him change his training strategy to concentrate on the conventional road marathon.

Kumwamba believes this could be his answer to his dream of participating at the world events like the Olympic Games, London, New York City, Berlin and other marathons.

He was born in Nchathu Village, Traditional Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District and became interested to become an athlete when he was just nine years old when his mother used to take him to watch the Mulanje Porters Race.

After doing his studies at DAPP vocational school in welding and fabrication, he left Malawi in 2002 for greener pastures in South Africa and since he still had the passion for running, he joined the trail racing club there where he rose to prominence.

Some of the races he has been on the podium for include: Ultra Trail Capetown 100km, Jongershoek Mountain Challenge 38km, Puffer 80Km, Mont Blanc 90km (France), Mulanje Porters Race 24km, Marloth Mountain Challenge 55km, Batrun 30km, Table Mountain Challenge 44km, Dryland Traverse 110km and Salomon Bastille Day 35km.