Local and international athletes are, for fun and serious business, today expected to compete in this year’s edition of Mount Mulanje Porters’ Race—the most extreme 25-kilometre athletics’ competition in Malawi.
The race, which professional athletes such as John Kayange, Chancy Master, Doris Fischer and Teresa Master have dominated, starts off at Likhubula Valley, right at the foot of the mountain, up to Chambe Plateau about 2,500m above sea level, to Lichenya Plateau and back down to Likhubula.
Unlike other competitions, this race see athletes competing against the protruding rocks, tap roots and rough terrain before even thinking about their opponents.
Often times, while the start of the race is fun, the same cannot be said about the sights and sounds of the finish line where winners instantly collapse in heaps due to either exhaustion or bruises, with blood gushing out.
“The route is rocky and hazardous and the paths are small. But though this is Malawi’s only extreme sport, elite runners cover such a tiring distance of 25km up and down the mountain in less than three hours!” read a recent statement on the Facebook page of Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust which runs the race.
The race is meant to celebrate tourism and encourage environmental preservation as locals around Mulanje and Phalombe districts join their counterparts.
Introduced in 1996, the race was previously limited to porters and guides for tourists before it eventually opened up to all participants, including those from countries such as South Africa, England, Switzerland, America and Mozambique.
The race starts at 6 am and athletes pay a registration fee.
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