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Malawi Porter’s Race

Most of you will know that Graham Denny is currently working for a charity in Malawi. He also took time out to do the Malawi Porters Race up Mount Mulanje. Here’s his story…..

Malawi Porters Race

No Masanje (picnic) on Mount Mulanje

The legend of the Porters Race first run in 1996, has grown and it now ranks as a classic endurance events, traversing one of Africa’s iconic mountains – Mt Mulanje in southern Malawi. At over 3000m this mountain massif towers majestically over the African plains. Following the footsteps of Dr Livingstone, intrepid mountaineers can today hike and use a network of rustic huts across this magnificent highland domain. The highest peak is called Sawpeta – which in the Malawian Chichewa language means “don’t go there!”. During the race, some runners will come to understand this in its truest sense. Hikers are invited to explore the area which is well supported by the local porters who carry all loads, offer route guidance and are a wonderful source of knowledge about all aspects of this unique mountain. For one day these men and women drop their loads and race. Their mountain knowledge, speed, strength and agility ensure a continuing race dominance despite the increasing numbers of international racers attracted by this inimitable challenge.

The Porters race was inked into my diary upon arrival in Malawi but I soon discovered that many of my Malawian colleagues at the Beehive Centre in Blantyre having heard of the race had never considered entering. For most Malawians, disposable income is an absolute premium so travelling long distances to races is an unaffordable luxury. With little encouragement, I soon had a core of committed runners training on a regular basis with the target of entering the race.

Pre-race information is limited but armed with the date, time and transport, thanks to Seibo, an eager team of 10 runners left Blantyre at 4.30am. In typical Malawian fashion the start was delayed til 7am until registration of the 350 runners was complete and various speakers had voiced their encouragement.

Immediately after the start the relentless climb of the Likhubula valley commenced. Racers either bound or trudge depending on their fitness towards the goal of the summit plateau of Mt Mulanje. Fortunately the sun was only just beginning to peak over the high peaks so climbing through the steeply wooded hillside remained relatively cool. Numerous small children attempted to join the race but were ruthlessly expelled by marshals with the stern warning “No chest number. Go home”. Streams cascade down from the peaks and along with sugary Sobo drinks provide welcome refreshment.

A passing runner with huge grin remarked “for such a Madala (old man) you have great courage to attempt this race”. Sadly I never saw him again.

Summitting, the run traverses past the Chambe hut and many a runner may have been fooled into thinking the hard part was over. The majority of my team had long disappeared and the next hour and a half required constant changes in running style, as the path varied from short sections of gentle contour path to steep descents and brutal climbs back to the plateau. The surrounding peaks all rise majestically around but full concentration is required not to slip and fall on the rocky track.

Eventually the decent begins and for many this is the most difficult part of the course. Serpent like the tracks twists and turns down ferociously steep ravines and rocky outcrops to finally reach the valley below. Bare footed Malawian ladies with tucked in chitenge (skirts) nimbly skip past, a humbling experience but being ‘chicked’ on this race is inevitable.   The winners are already home enjoying the adulation at the finish, while the majority of the field struggle down until the mountain finally releases its grip and the finish arrives to a cacophony of noise from the partying Malawian supporters.

For a mzungu (white) runner the finish offers a novel post-race experience of being immediately man handled away to be checked over by medical staff before being offered a handful of pain killers and a large steaming plate of nsima and beef stew.

I am immediately surrounded by our team of successful Beehive runners all delighted with having completed the course and keen to discuss future events. What a success and fulfilling event. Thanks guys.

Are you challenged for 2018?

Upton Tri results

The club had a good day at the races on Saturday 8th July with Lucy, Bill and Alison’s relay team finishing the standard distance relay a creditable 10th in a very strong field. Jo Carter’s team finished the sprint relay in 3rd overall.

In the sprint race it was a Bloxsome showdown with Harry taking the honours and a first in age group while Dad and Joe also put in good performances.

In the standard distance race Matt finished 4th overall and 1st in age group, Also in the prizes was Ben who was 11th overall and 1st in age group. Pete managed 4th in his age group while Chris finished despite a recurrence of a foot injury – hope he gets this cleared up before Weymouth 70.3.

2017 TTG Gloucester Triathlon Results

We had fantastic weather for the TTG Gloucester Triathlon matched by some great performances by the 170+ competitors involved.
Results from todays race can be found at RogueRacer.
The Super Sprint race was won by Paul Slade from Torfaen Tri Club and Victoria Price
The Sprint race was won by Nick Slim from Tewkesbury Tri Club and Ceris Styler

Thanks to all competitors, marshalls, officials and our service providers; RogueRacer, VeloVitesse, Sweeney’s Catering and Up & Running Cheltenham. And thanks to the following for donating prizes; Chase Hotels, The Rackham Effect and Peak Fitness

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

Tri Team Glos Tri – 28.5.17 – www.triteamglos.co.uk

2017 TTG Gloucester Triathlon news

 

Photo of Grafman 2016 swim start

Our race is this Sunday and we have our fingers crossed for good weather.

The race is nearly full and we will close entries on Wednesday evening. We hope to have everyone’s race times posted on this website and instructions and times emailed out by Thursday evening.

Good luck to all racing!

Well done to our members racing this weekend

Lizzie, John and Geoff all did well at the Eton Sprints qualifying event for the ITU Worlds. I can’t tell you that they’ve qualified as the system seems to have been devised by a particle physicist. Apparently we’ll find out after the next two events but well done anyway guys!

Chris Balodis completed the Bath half marathon in 2:08, well done Chris!

Good luck to this weekend’s racers

Photo of Grafman 2016 swim start

Good luck to Lizzie and John racing the Eton sprint triathlon and to Chris Balodis running the Bath half marathon.

2017 Gloucester Triathlon

 

It’s just two weeks to the 2017 TTG Gloucester Triathlon.

We still have places for both the Sprint and Super Sprint races. Excellent value, just £22 for the Super Sprint race and you might want to club together with friends/colleagues to take advantage of our buy five get one free offer – contact us via the contact us link for details.
Medals for all finishers, age group cash and voucher prizes in the Sprint Tri and spot prizes on the day!
Enter here https://www.entrycentral.com/Gloucester-Triathlon

Tuesday Coached Running

No running training until winter 2017

Newent Aquathlon places are selling well…

Tri Team Glos

Newent Aquathlon places are selling well, don’t miss out on a place at our new event. All the information can be found at the following page. If you would prefer just to secure your slot, entries can be purchased here.

The 2017 TTG Newent Aquathlon will take place on April 2nd, 2017.

TTG Newent Aquathlon is a Sprint Aquathlon for all ages (entrants must be 15 and over on race day). Swim 400m of Newent School pool then run around the popular Newent Parkrun 5km route around the school playing fields.

Registration commences at 09:00, with the race commencing at 10:00 dependant upon your estimated 400m swim time. Presentations will occur after last competitor finishes, at approximately 1pm.

 

 

Coached run sessions – Tuesday 7th March

Tri Team Glos

Coached run sessions will relocate to Escort Road from next Tuesday 7th March.
The meeting point is on the service road on the north side of Escourt Road near the school playing fields.
All abilities are catered for – sessions start at 7pm, involve a warm up and down and base building for which a heart rate monitor is essential kit.