One question I was asked a lot while we were back in the States was “Are you running a lot in Uganda?” Friends asked because this was one of my hobbies in the US and a source of physical and mental renewal. Relatives ask because one’s standing in my mom’s family depends upon one’s answer to that question.
My answer is “yes, but not as much as I did in the US.” This is partly because the same road hazards I described in my bike post apply to running, making simple pedestrian journeys a magnificent pain in the ass. Also, the rains are rather unpredictable. Sometimes the rain will begin in earnest just as I’m about to set out, and sometimes clouds will hover menacingly and discouragingly for hours and ultimately produce nothing.
Fortunately, we live near Kololo Hill, a lofty perch in Kampala upon which many embassies, Ambassadors’ residences and UN agencies can be found, and which is therefore a rather low-traffic area. The low traffic, combined with the caliber of the residents also means that the roads are well-maintained.
Before going further, it is important to note a central truth about running in Kampala.
One way or another, your lungs will suffer!
Although this truth is inescapable, you can choose your form of punishment. They are thusly:
1. Run in the low-lying areas where there is much more traffic and thus, much more dust and pollution
2. Run in the higher, less trafficked areas where your lungs won’t be exposed to as much pollution, but will be punished by steep climbs at greater altitudes.
I choose the latter fate. As an example, here’s the elevation profile for my standard SHORT run, as calculated by MapMyRun