Situated south of the equator – in Tanzania – at 5 895 metres, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Permanent glaciers flow down from the summit, and the sheer presence of this huge mountain dominates the entire area. “Kili” as she is affectionately known, is one of those iconic sights every person should see at least once in their lifetime.
Every year, at the end of February/beginning March, a standard 42.2 km marathon, 21.1 km half marathon and 5 km fun run are held in the town of Moshi, in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. This AIMS registered race has been set up to promote the sport in Tanzania, and has the official backing of the Tanzania Tourist Board, the Tanzania Amateur Athletics Association and the IAAF.
Full Marathon – From start in the stadium, the route is a fairly flat 10km down through Moshi Town, passing houses, shops and the airport until one gets to the TPC Sugar fields , turning here to run back on same route . The full then passes back past the gate of Mucu on Sokoine Road .
Half Marathon – The second half of the race is the half marathon … Uphill, about 250 altitude gain in 8km. At about 8 km, the route follows a dirt road for about 2 km, though some farms and schools, before joining Lema Road, and the long downhill back to the Finish in the stadium.
The route passes through parts of town, many smallholding farms and villages, banana and coffee plantations and patches of forest, providing great excitement to local residents who give ample vocal support.
For those running the half marathon, the route starts just outside the Moshi stadium and follows a steady incline to Mweka as per the full marathon – at approximately half way (10 km) the fast descent begins to the finish. The atmosphere in the stadium is electric with local bands and entertainment, crowds of local enthusiasts to cheer the runners and plenty of refreshments for sale.
If these two distances are a little intimidating, we have a 5km Fun Run. Fantastic for families and those starting their running careers, or simply to get out there on a Sunday morning, and be part of the vibe of the Kili Marathon.
The logistics of the operation are run under the Kibo Marathon Club (Reg No. 446682), and members of both the Tanzania Amateur Athletics Association (TAAA) and the local Kilimanjaro Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA).
The Kilimanjaro Marathon may be used as a qualifier for the Comrades Marathon.