My first Experience of a Marathon

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” – well mine was only 26.2 miles and started with a 5K park run. My name is Thomas Bwambale from Kasese, Uganda currently in the UK with support from Winchester Rotary, Southampton Magna Rotary and Rotary District 1110 to volunteer with a charity in Netley Marsh called Tools For Self Reliance.

In the first month of my stay in the UK, I was introduced to the Winchester 5K park run on one balmy Saturday morning by my friend Nick Bell. I did my first 5K run in 24 minutes and became stiff for the next few days. The second time I did the Park run I got to know about the Clarendon Marathon which was being organised by Rotary and I was keen on participating of course as a runner!

Without any prior experience of a marathon and a time frame of only five weeks until the actual marathon, I had to embark on serious training.

For reasons best known to myself, I was more than determined to do my first marathon as a sponsored run in aid of Tools For Self Reliance. I wanted to express my appreciation to the charity for the wonderful tool refurbishment skills they have equipped me with but most importantly to make a kind contribution towards their work and projects in Africa in which my own country Uganda forms part.

Nick, who has done a number of marathons previously, advised me to do the half marathon. Given the fact that he is an experienced runner got me thinking twice. But as the saying goes “try and fail, but never fail to try”, I decided to try!

I did my training almost every morning with my wonderful pair of trainers sourced by Nick. These were special trainers in that they had a  Bluetooth connectivity which told my phone how my training was going and if I was going too fast or two slow! The furthest I did in training was 20 miles, by which time Nick was convinced together with me that I could do it!! In the blink of an eye it was 2nd October and guess who was on the starting line ready to run 26.2miles!

The weather was not good for the start but thank heavens the sun came out sooner than expected. Some places were muddy and I won’t ever forget about the steep hills. The marshals were very friendly and supportive indeed; the bananas and water kept me going.

Hip hip hooray after 5 hours and 16 minutes I made it to the finishing line and was able to raise an amazing sum of£1500.

Many thanks to everyone who supported me and if anyone else would like to donate please feel free as the page still remains open. .

Tools For Self Reliance is an international development charity working to reduce poverty in Africa. We refurbish donated tools and sewing machines from the UK and send them to 5 different countries in Africa ( Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda and Sierra Leone).

We also work with non-governmental organisations in these countries and fund the education of young men and women to acquire vocational skills such as construction, carpentry, plumbing, tailoring, metal fabrication, mechanics and electric installations.

The graduates then receive a start up kit from the tools we send and either start a business or join an existing business to acquire experience.

Did you know that you can fundraise, sponsor, volunteer or donate for Tools for Self-Reliance today.

Bwambale Thomas Muhiwa

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