10 types of people that were at the MTN Marathon

Written by Josh Twin on . Posted in Life

There’s only one person in Uganda who didn’t know about the 2015 MTN Kampala Marathon. Edith and I are in the same Whatsapp group where members started dropping selfies of the marathon as they progressed on Sunday morning.

Edith came out of “kamoli” and asked, “Which marathon is this?”

I also stepped out of the “kamoli” and replied her, “Edith please go away, back to where you

have been.”

Then I went back to “kamoli”. I’ve not said anything on that group since then!

Now of the over 20,000 people who knew about the MTN Marathon early enough to register, get their kits and show up at Kololo Independence Grounds aka Kololo Airstrip, not all of them were there for the same reason. That’s why the ads had been asking “What are you running for?”.

Mr Aggrey Kagonyera , one of the people who conceived the idea of the MTN Marathon in 2004 said that the marathon has become different things to different people. For some people it’s a social event, others health, and yet to some others, it’s a company team building activity.

I, with the help of my very mischievous friend who asked, and begged and pleaded that I do not mention her and tag her twitter handle, identified 10 categories of people who were at the Marathon

We’ll give them names just for the purpose of this blog post, and if you identify with any, you can always put your name as we go along.

1. The runner

This is the guy who jogs around Kololo after work, and is generally in good shape. Clive / Patricia arrived early and managed to get space near the front of the line (read crowd) and managed to break out and run ahead. Clive didn’t set any records, but made time of slightly over an hour.

The runner managed to get away with minimal damage, and was able to continue to Church or any other business after the marathon.

2. The wannabe runner

The wannabe runner has been “walking in italics” this week since he kept procrastinating on practicing before taking on the marathon. Once upon a time he used to jog / walk around his neighborhood, most likely Najeera or Kisaasi, but this year he has managed to avoid his exercise regimen by blaming his promotion at work that has him leave after dark on most days.

So Robert decided that the MTN Marathon would be his fresh start of regular exercise. We’re yet to know whether he has run 10 metres since the weekend.

3. The long distance runner

I have maximum respect for this runner, Chemtai. Whereas most of the participants were doing 10km, he decided to go all out with the 42km route. Let’s put it in context: 42km is about the same distance from Kololo Airstrip to Entebbe. Or to Mukono and back. Its also the same distance to run from Kololo to Nagalama where the Police likes to detain Besigye and people who want to burn Police stations with hot chapatis, like Danny T.

Chemtai isn’t about the fun and games, selfies, victory chants, podium finish, glory. Chemtai is a master of himself, he is the king of perseverance. He did the full marathon and made it to the finish in one piece. Let’s give him a round of e-applause!

4. The geek

I wrote an article on PC Tech about how to prepare well for the marathon as a geek but this girl, Doreen, didn’t read it, or she did and ignored everything I said, and just showed up with both her smartphones and large headphones. She also had a pedometer, an activity tracker and … wait for it … a camera.

I don’t quite have the words for Doreen. If you know her, please show her the article early so that she can be ready for 2016 Marathon.

5. The politician

I don’t know whether there were many of these guys or they were all running near me, but we kept hearing politically tilted chants, even those from the 70s and 80s. I thought these guys looked a bit too young to be remembering the chants of say 1985 and to sing them to encourage themselves when the going got tough!

I also heard some catch phrases from current and recent past politics, including:

“We are one Uganda, one people”


“Mzee aberewo”


I also attribute some other chants to this same group:

“We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome some day”

Interestingly, these guys were actually running at a fair pace!

6. The socialite

Of course we all know someone who just has to be at all the “happening” events, joints etc. Sheba is just that person. Sheba only went for the marathon out of “FOMO” because she saw her friends posting their kits and numbers on social media and realized it was going to be “turnt”. Irene is also a socialite, but she’s been at this longer than Sheba so she has been to a few Marathons and knew it’s a must-attend. She was one of the first people to register.

7. The Lover boy

While most people, even the socialite, must have been thinking about the running to some extent, there was at least one guy who had something completely different on his mind: marriage.

Photos popped up on Whatsapp and social media of Ambrose on one knee, asking the love of his life to marry him. And she said yes!

I wonder whether the reception will be at Marathon 2016 since this gentleman loves crowds?

8. The couples

Ambrose started out in this category but decided to turn things up a notch.

You saw them, walking (most of them weren’t running most of the time) hand in hand, throwing glances at each other every so often, whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears, sharing inside jokes, stopping for couple selfies. The couples also shared a bottle of water, never mind that Rwenzori donated water worth over 75m, which was more than enough to have a few bottles each!

Romeo and Juliet painted the marathon red with love! Check out more photos of the couples at New Vision.

9. The selfie addict

You know exactly who I’m talking about because their social media feeds are stuffed with selfies and more selfies.

Stellah must have taken over 1000 selfies that morning! She’s not apologetic, she takes pride in her selfies, and made several stops along the route to catch yet another selife. In this category we bundle in her friends who not only condone but also enjoy her pout-mouthed photography sessions.

10. The corporate snob

I guess no list is complete without throwing jabs at the “corporate” guy, Abdul. He’s the guy who is fully branded, no matter the day or occasion, you’ll know where he works. From the car he drives to the clothes he wears and pens he uses you can tell Abdul is proud of his employer. So when you get talking with him, one thing stands out “refreshments at their ‘corporate tent’”.

Abdul, did you go to run or to eat free food with your workmates? 

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