By Tyson Jacob, 4 March 2020   |   Adventist young adults were among the runners in the Kilimanjaro Marathon on Sunday (1 March) near Moshi, Tanzania. David Masele, youth director at the Arusha International Seventh-day Adventist Church, organized a group from his congregation to participate. He is an experienced runner and ran in the 21 km race with several friends.

I watched as a number of Adventist young people, tall and short, white, brown and black ran in the various races, each one showing what he or she could do until they crossed the finish line. Some were awarded simply the medals of participation, while others won a variety of championships. As I talked with them, I learned most had been preparing since last year.

Masele told Adventist Today that “apart from the fun with friends, I take this as a challenge, since I’m not a marathon running person. In reality, I get tired and it is hard to get to the finish line, but I push myself and finish. With that in mind, it strengthens my never give up and endurance spirits in my real life.”

Running helps him with his spiritual life, Masele said. “In the Christian life it’s not always straight; there are a lot of obstacles and hills. I learn from the marathon to never give up and to have the spirit of waiting and knowing it`s not always straight. Marathon running has helped me learn that encouraging one another is very important because we all have the same goal of reaching the final destination; we all have to work to get the medal.”

Masele does a couple of marathons each year, and plans to do the same in the coming year. “I always have a target to improve my finish time,” he said. And, “I will run a few other marathons this year and again in 2021.”

Levis Mcbravy, an Adventist musician from Dar es Salaam, the largest city in eastern Africa, told Adventist Today that he did not run but came with the group to provide support to his friends. He is planning to run next year.

Jane Essaba, from the Temeke Adventist church in Dar es Salaam, expressed how bad she felt after missing the deadline to participate as a runner and mentioned Glory Elineema Kangalu and Rose Elineema Kangalu, both members of the Burka Adventist church who have participated along with many other of her friends that she mentioned with great joy.

David W. Zabron, a member of the Njiro Adventist church who works as assistant manager for Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) Tanzania, told Adventist Today that he was planning to run but got busy and realized how late he was in preparing, so he decided to be a spectator and cheer on the runners this time. He plans to register for other races to come. “The event was fantastic,” he said. “I got an opportunity to become friends with several Adventist youths.”

Civic and business leaders see the Kilimanjaro Marathon in terms of how it builds community and economic development. Speaking during at the beginning of the race, Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Anna Mghwira, praised the race’s sponsors, which included Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, Tigo Pesa Services, Grand Malt, Kilimanjaro Water, Barclays Bank, Simba Cement, TPC Sugar, Precision Air, Kibo Palace Hotel, Unilever, GardaWorld Security, Keys Hotel, CMC Automobiles and the government Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. She pointed out that this year’s race was expected to draw participants from more than 50 countries worldwide.

Tyson Jacob is the reporter for Adventist Today based in Africa at the Adventist University of Arusha. The photo is one he took of the group of Adventist young adults at the Kilimanjaro Marathon on Sunday, 1 March 2020.

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