Kilimanjaro Marathon Race Overview and Tips

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Kilimanjaro Marathon is an exclusive race that showcases Mount Kilimanjaro with stunning panoramic views from Moshi, Tanzania. Held each February or early March and organized by Moshi, this marathon features full, half, and fun run options to give runners an experience like no other!

This route passes through villages, sections of Moshi town, banana and coffee plantations as well as patches of forest and is attended by an abundance of spectators who cheer on participants.

The route

The Kilimanjaro Marathon is an exciting running event held annually in Tanzania and provides its participants with a unique opportunity to run in natural reserves while simultaneously ascending Africa’s highest peak, making this an adventurer-friendly program that includes climbing Kilimanjaro, visiting Masai villages and day safaris at one of Tanzania’s stunning reserves.

Moshi Stadium marks the starting line of this half marathon race and after an initial flat section, gradually climbs upward to reach Mweka. At that point, runners turn back around and head back toward Moshi stadium after 10 km – drawing large crowds from local residents who come out to witness and offer support. There are numerous water tables and sponging points along the route to keep runners hydrated and cool during their run.

Kilimanjaro lies in the northern Tanzania, near Kenya’s border. Composed of three volcanoes – Shira on the west, Mawenzi on the east, and Kibo at its core – Kilimanjaro boasts impressive shape highlighted by long permanent glaciers that descend from its summit.

Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller made history when they successfully summited Mount Kenya for the first time in 1889 using the Machame (Whiskey) route, which is considered more difficult than Marangu due to steeper terrain and longer trekking timetable. To ascend Mt Kenya takes at least six days from base camp.

Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 5,895 meters above sea level and is the world’s highest freestanding mountain, standing 5,895 meters tall. Additionally, it is Africa’s tallest peak and hosts an abundance of habitats and wildlife – its peak being known as Uhuru Peak with numerous other summits rising beyond its crater rim.

The Distances

The Kilimanjaro Marathon takes place annually between February and early March and features three distance races: full marathon (42.2 km), half marathon (21.1 km), and Fun Run (5 km). Participants can enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro throughout each event – it is considered to be the world’s highest elevation marathon/ultramarathon! A perfect opportunity to acclimate for climbing Kilimanjaro itself!

This year marks the 17th year that Wild Frontiers and Kilimanjaro Premium Lager have organized this marathon event, known as the Kilimanjaro Marathon. Since its first staging as a small affair it has quickly grown into one of Africa’s premier marathon races.

Runners participating in this race will experience a variety of cultures and landscapes during their journey, passing through villages, banana and coffee plantations as well as forested foothills. Along their route they may come across some challenging rocky sections which will build strength and endurance while giving them the opportunity to see wildlife as well as meet locals.

Race Start

The race starts from Moshi Stadium and travels toward Moshi town before turning back toward the mountains and beginning its gradual climb towards Mweka. This portion is by far the toughest but its breathtaking view of Kilimanjaro will motivate runners to keep pushing forward.

Once at Mweka, runners will head downhill towards the stadium for the finish line – always an enjoyable event with live music, food and drink vendors, crowds of spectators and many participants trying to beat their own personal records! Though difficult, this race provides an enjoyable way to spend your day while challenging yourself!

This event is open to both international and local athletes, providing an ideal way to promote tourism in Tanzania. With support from both the Tanzania Tourist Board and Tanzania Amateur Athletics Association TAAA as well as IAAF rules governing it all, this competition welcomes both amateur athletes and tourism promotional efforts at once!

The atmosphere

The Kilimanjaro Marathon is an exhilarating race held under the watchful gaze of Africa’s highest mountain, while also providing an opportunity to get acquainted with Tanzania and its friendly people. Official IAAF marshalling, timekeeping and refreshment points make the Kilimanjaro Marathon one of the world’s most scenic races; currently taking place between 830-1150m above sea level at an altitude between 830-1150m asl, passing through local villages, banana and coffee plantations, sections of town and forest all with breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro throughout. Villagers crowd around runners providing support while creating an electric atmosphere – creating an electric atmosphere among competitors!

The initial half of this course is relatively flat, before starting its gradual ascent towards Mweka after a short section. Once at Mweka, it enters beautiful mountain forest areas filled with rocks to overcome and regular water tables or “sponging points” keep athletes well hydrated along with providing constant views of Kilimanjaro to boost motivation!

Once the elite runners have passed with impressive times, the backmarkers begin to filter through. Local women runners in particular receive tremendous support – it’s always encouraging to witness such enthusiasm!

International runners from across the globe gather to participate in this thrilling race in Tanzania, creating an inspiring atmosphere and offering support to each runner who enters. It’s one of the finest international races around!

As this race gains popularity, more of our clients are opting to combine this event with an extended visit to Tanzania – making for the ideal combination of staying at an Arusha or Moshi lodge, taking a safari trip into Serengeti National Park, then undertaking the Kilimanjaro Marathon! For more information about planning this incredible trip please reach out; we would love to assist in planning it all for you!

The Support

The Kilimanjaro Marathon is an unforgettable world-class event held each year in Moshi, Tanzania at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and featuring standard 42.2km and half marathon distances, as well as 5km fun run distances. Participants will experience tremendous support from local crowds and volunteers along their path; traffic control by police keeps things running smoothly along an excellently marshalled route; while those taking their time can also admire beautiful landscapes including villages, coffee and banana plantations and scenic areas along the route.

The Kilimanjaro Marathon’s organizing team is committed to making it an unforgettable experience for runners from around the globe. Not only do they deliver a world-class race experience for participants, they also support local communities and charities while working toward making this marathon more sustainable with regards to both environmental and social responsibility.

Closing Thoughts

In 2024, the Kilimanjaro Marathon will celebrate its 21st year. First conceived by Wild Frontiers over a chilled Kilimanjaro Lager in 2002 as an innovative way of drawing tourism to Tanzania and showcasing Mount Kilimanjaro, this marathon event has since grown into an AIMS registered event and been supported by both Tanzania’s Tourist Board and Amateur Athletics Association.

Kilimanjaro Marathon is more than just a running event; it is also an adventure! Most travel packages for this marathon event include pre- or post-marathon tours of Tanzania to view its breathtaking natural scenery and wildlife, such as visiting Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater or Lake Manyara to spot Africa’s Big Five or just to discover culture and history of Tanzania.

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