A Mountain To Climb - My Journey To the Quad: Part 2
I literally have a mountain to climb to get ready for the Quadrathlon in July! Like many of you I’m sure, I’m struggling to find time to fit in training around my work and I’m really feeling the pressure with only a few months to go!
Currently my mountain training consists of running up and down the hill to and from work in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. It is still pretty challenging, not least because I have to dodge the ‘boda boda’ which is Kampala’s local taxi motorbike service and whose bikers have little consideration for a ‘muzungu’ (white man) runner in their way.
I’m really looking forward to getting back up north to Karamoja again which is situated in beautiful mountains of Uganda. However, these mountains are quite unlike the usual image one has of Uganda which is green and lush – and are in fact very dusty and very hot. So, very different from the climate we will have for the Quad! The heat means that I will need to train very early in the morning before the sun heats everything up and it gets too hot.
The communities of Karamoja are those who will benefit from the money raised as part of the Quad. They live in a conflict-affected region of north eastern Uganda with some of the worst poverty ratings in the country. Nutrition levels are very low and maternal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. Money raised as part of the Quad will not only go towards breaking the cycle of under-nutrition in this region, particularly for children under two years old, but will also help us to build better medical maternity facilities to give expecting mothers the care they need.
Although I’m not as far as I feel I should be with my training for July’s race, it is this end goal that keeps me going – knowing that the more money we raise, the bigger the tangible difference we can make in peoples’ lives. What also keeps me going is my support network – and I would encourage all first-time Quad participants (in fact, any Quad participant!) to surround themselves with positive, encouraging people.
I have my amazing team in Karamoja who train with me and it makes it easier to get out there and run up hills, I also have my very patient wife and children, and of course my Quad partner, Sandy Biggar, who supports our programmes in Uganda from the Mercy Corps office in Edinburgh. At the moment we can’t run or climb together because there is a continental landmass between us, but we encourage each other to get out there and train, and it amuses us to think how different our training is - me in the extreme heat and dust of northern Uganda, and him in the wet and muddy Scottish hills!
I’ll be thinking of you all as I trudge up the hills in Uganda this month. Good luck – we can do this!
Sean Granville-Ross is the Mercy Corps Country Director in Uganda. He has been with Mercy Corps for 12 years. Having first started with Mercy Corps in Kosovo, he has been Country Director in Mongolia and Indonesia and was Regional Programme Director for East Asia. Sean grew up in Kenya and speaks English, Spanish, Kiswahili and Indonesian.