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Running the Rift Marathon

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As brutal as it is beautiful, Running the Rift Half & Full Marathon in rural Uganda is something special. Run through villages and banana plantations, through forests and around crater lakes, in hot, equatorial sun at 1600m of altitude. Question your sanity at entering the race and then look up to see the UNESCO Rwenzori Mountains crumble away into the Great Rift Valley. This course is spectacular. The views are like none you've ever seen, the hills and sun just keep on giving and the locals will keep you smiling with their amazing enthusiasm. We are 100% not for profit, with all proceeds going to the Kyaninga Child Development Centre.

The race is part of a week-long event based at Kyaninga Lodge in western Uganda. Join like-minded runners for a unique trip and explore this unspoilt part of Africa with people as adventurous as you!

How to enter the Running the Rift Marathon

  1. Icon

    Your Trip - Full Marathon Full (Deposit)

    Run 42km
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  2. Icon

    Your Trip - Half Marathon (Deposit)

    Run 21km
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  3. Icon

    Your Trip - 10k (Deposit)

    Run 10km
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  4. Icon

    Running the Rift - Not Running (Deposit)

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Running the Rift Marathon routes


Full Marathon

  • Terrain: 100% Trail (dirt roads or paths)
  • Course Shape: Single Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 888m
  • Min Elevation: 1513m
  • Max Elevation: 1655m
  • Steepest Uphill: 16.7%
  • Longest Uphill: 1.44km
  • Steepest Downhill: -18.9%
  • Longest Downhill: 1.17km

Half Marathon

  • Terrain: 100% Trail (dirt roads or paths)
  • Course Shape: Lasso
  • Elevation Gain: 384m
  • Min Elevation: 1495m
  • Max Elevation: 1664m
  • Steepest Uphill: 16.7%
  • Longest Uphill: 1.44km
  • Steepest Downhill: -13.3%
  • Longest Downhill: 1.35km

Event Details

What’s Included


  • Entry to the full marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k race
  • Six nights in your chosen accommodation
  • Airport transfers from and to Entebbe Airport (at designated times only)
  • All meals - including finish line hog roast
  • Use of all facilities at Kyaninga Lodge (see below)
  • Welcome drink on arrival
  • Technical race t-shirt
  • Unique brass race medal made by local craftsman Albert
  • Water and bananas on race course
  • Regular shuttle service into the local town
  • The race place for one local runner
  • Lifelong friends and the experience of a lifetime!


  • Flights
  • Drinks including bottled water (except during the race)
  • Transfers other than at designated times
  • Adventure day experience (an add-on to the basic price)
Raceday Logistics

The Trip

  • Tuesday 19th November: Arrive at Entebbe Airport, transfer to Kyaninga Lodge.
  • Wednesday 20th Nov: Relax, enjoy all the facilities at the lodge and meet each other. In the evening it's cocktail night!
  • Thursday 21st Nov: Adventure day, choose to add a Safari or a trek with chimps to your trip.
  • Friday 22nd Nov: Today you need to chill ready for tomorrow! And the lodge is the best place on Earth to do just that!
  • Saturday 23rd Nov: Race day! In the afternoon some of the kids and families from the KCDC will come to the lodge for fun and games.
  • Monday 25th Nov: Transfer to the airport.

Throughout your trip there will be organised group runs, shuttles into the local town of Fort Portal for souvenir shopping and looking around, and other organised activities for you to join in with (no additional costs).

Race Day

Start Time: Approx. 7:30am (Registration from 6am)

Marked & Marshaled Course: Yes

Refreshments on Course: Bottled water & bananas

Cut-Off Time: Marathon-7 hours, Half Marathon- 4.5 hours

Kit List
Shoes: We recommend trail or fell running shoes for all the race courses.

Weather & Climate:
Uganda is on the equator and has a tropical climate with dry seasons (hot and dry) and wet seasons (sunshine / rain / sunshine / rain / you get the idea). Kyaninga is located approx. 1600m above sea level. This means temperatures are warm but comfortable. Your trip will be at the very end of the rainy season / very beginning of the dry season. We choose this time as rainfall reduces significantly (so the course won't be slippy) and temperatures have not reached the highs they do in the dry season. It's the perfect time to visit Uganda!
Don't forget suncream. It is difficult to buy suncream in Uganda so please make sure you bring a supply with you. A high factor is recommended.
Be sure to bring waterproofs as well as warm clothing for the evenings when it can get cool.

Spectators are welcome!

Group Bookings: We have big savings because we love big groups:
Groups of 4 or 5: 10% discount per person.
Groups of 6 or more: 20% discount per person.
Please contact the Race organiser ( with the names of the people in your group, book via the website as normal, and your discount will show on your final payment invoices.
Group members can choose any accommodation type. Group discount does not apply to race-only entry.

Extend Your Trip: There are SO many incredible things to see and do in Uganda. From trekking to see Mountain Gorillas to white-water rafting. You can organise these trips with tour providers or you can ask us and we'll make some suggestions and get prices for you from a trusted tour company we used based in Fort Portal.

Visiting the Local Town: During your stay we have organised matatu shuttles into the local town of Fort Portal. Here you can explore the town, buy souvenirs and withdraw money.

VISA: A Ugandan visa costs $50, this can be applied and paid for online using this link: If you're travelling to other parts of East Africa before / after your trip with us, you can purchase an East African Visa which will save you some money and time.

Vaccinations: You will need to show your Yellow Fever certificate on arrival at the airport in Uganda. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional for other vaccination advice.

Malaria Prevention: Mosquitoes in Uganda can carry malaria. Seek advice from a healthcare professional regarding the best malaria prophylaxis for you.

Drinking Water: You cannot drink tap water, bottled water is easy to find throughout Uganda.

Open Water Swimming: Generally it is not advised to swim in lakes in Uganda, these often carry Biharzia (a parasite). Kyaninga Lake has been tested for bilharzia and is safe to swim in.

Dietary Information: During your stay at Kyaninga you will enjoy a mix of African and European food. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements. Elsewhere in Uganda it is relatively easy to find vegetarian and vegan meals.

Medical Information: Please inform us of any pre-existing medical conditions so we can pass these details on to the Exile Medics team. Uganda has western standard hospitals and doctors in the capital, Kampala.

The People: Uganda is renowned as being the friendliest country in East Africa and with good reason. You'll notice this particularly when running through the local villages - people will smile, wave, laugh and shout "how are you?!" a lot.

Crime & Personal Safety: In our experience, Uganda is a very safe country to visit even for a single female traveller. Although we have never personally experienced any crime, we have been told that pickpocketing is common in the capital, Kampala. Uganda doesn't have street-lighting and for this reason we would advise against staying out after dark. Uganda is considered a politically stable African country.

Road Safety: The number one safety concern throughout Africa is the road traffic. Especially around Entebbe and Kampala roads can be busy and traffic moves quickly. We would advise against travelling at night, there are no street-lights and visibility for drivers is poor. If traveling by boda boda (motorbike taxi) in Kampala, use an orange 'Safe Boda', these drivers provide helmets and have training.

Wifi / SIM cards: Wifi is available at the main Lodge. We recommend getting a SIM card for your stay, these can be bought in town and data is inexpensive. You'll need your phone to be unlocked and you'll need your passport with you to buy the SIM.

Clothing: Fort Portal is a very liberal part of Uganda, dress however you feel comfortable. In other parts of Uganda women are encouraged to cover down to the knee unless playing sport. Don't forgot to bring waterproofs and warm clothing for the evening.

Cash: The main currency in Uganda is UGX - Ugandan Shillings. Shillings are accepted everywhere and you can get them easily at ATMs in Uganda (including at the airport). Large hotels, long distance taxis and tour providers will also accept payment in USD. Note that Ugandan Shillings will give you a slightly better rate on goods and are much more widely accepted. You cannot buy UGX outside Uganda.

The Race
Specific Running Training for the Race: We recommend hill training on top of your general marathon training. Some runners may also try running in warm layers to get used to running in heat.

Animals on the Course: Animals you may come across on race day include cows, goats and dogs. There will be no lions, elephants, baboons etc on the course, these animals very rarely stray from the national parks and nature reserves.

Hydration & Fuel: There are water stations on the course with bottled water so you can take a bottle and carry it with you (we sweep the course the day after the marathon to collect litter). The full marathon course will have bananas available. If you usually use gels or energy blocks when racing, please bring them with you. Some runners choose to take a hydration pack with them too.

Medical Attention: There will be medical aid out on the course should you need it.

Markings & Marshals: We mark the course and have marshals out for your guidance and safety. Use of a GPS watch (Garmin etc) is recommended.

Running the Rift Marathon weather forecast

Rain until evening.

Predicted highs
Predicted lows
Icon70% chance of rain

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