Our History.

Where it all began….

Kili Marathon, to begin with, was simply an idea formed by event organiser Wild Frontiers in 2002 , over a cold Kilimanjaro Lager , of a great way to draw tourism in to Tanzania – an iconic name and place for a marathon, using  sport and a new marketing idea to attract runners to Tanzania, who would then climb the mountain, or go on safari after running the race.

Year one, after generating some marketing on a tiny budget, attracted a mix of a few ‘international’ runners coupled with local interest – and ended up with a field of about 300 – 400  runners in total who enjoyed the race.  Back in 2003 , the local interest from villagers was piqued and they came out to see what was going on in their quiet town so early on a Sunday morning.  Children followed some of the athletes, there were goats on the side of the roads, part of the course was on dirt , but generally most people went about their morning activities – like any other Sunday.

We organised a full 42km and half marathon distance ,and a 10 km –  and timekeeping was done manually with stop-watches… it was quite easy with a small group of runners.

Today, the roads are brimming full with athletes – shoulder to shoulder at the start – as they pit for top honours. We now have , in addition to the Full and Half , a hugely popular Fun Run , and a “ wheel chair / handcycle race “.

Over the years, our main sponsor Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, together with other sponsors have helped us turn this tiny event into a monster – the sponsors have to claim a large part of the credit for this success. The race serves to test  Tanzania’s upcoming top athletes, with world-class times being posted by these talented runners – as well as getting close to 9000 runners over various distances, enjoying the morning out.

As well as being a great breeding ground for the local talent, the event draws quality runners from neighbouring countries, and from around the world – with up to 40  nationalities attending the event. Apart from the ‘sports ‘ element , the event has a big pay off in the region , with sponsors building their CSR around the event , and the economic benefits to the country and the region are huge. There is also a change of lifestyle across  the country , with many more people taking up running , to keep healthy  and socialise. Every true Tanzanian wants to participate in the “ kili “ as it is known , and the medals are worn with pride from Tunduma to Taveta ………