We're heading to Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our local guide for a virtual running tour of Goma is pro triathlete, Miguel Masaisai.
Tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with running?
My name is Miguel Masaisai, I am a professional triathlete from the DR Congo, student at the University of Goma and native of the city of Goma.
Goma is Congo's tourist city with Mount Nyiragongo volcano, the gorillas of Virunga National Park, the great Lake Kivu and beautiful landscapes of the hills of Rwanda.
When I was in primary school, I walked 15km every day with my little brother. When we were late, we had to run to school so we were already training from a young age! One day, there was a running competition, I took part and placed highly with little training. From that day, it occured to me that I had a future in running and that to compete against the real runners, I needed to join a team and focus.
Describe the running culture in DR Congo?
In Goma, running has become popular with lots of the residents, some take part just for building health and fitness and others are training for performance. On a Sunday morning, the roads of the city are filled with runners, mostly made up of workers and students who do not find time during a busy week.
Where are the best places to run in DR Congo?
Port of Goma
The port of Goma is a beautiful environment for a morning run. You can experience the fresh air of Lake Kivu and contemplate the beauty of the lake.
Mount Goma is a good place to build some strength and endurance on the slopes of a mountain while admiring the beauty of the city below and the view of Nyiragongo volcano.
Goma to Sake Road
The Goma to Sake road offers 27 km of flat road running - perfect for a long run!
Are you a member of a running club in DR Congo?
Yes, I am a member of Mangwele Athletic Club. We are the best club in the city of Goma. I have the honour to be the team captain.
We are a club for the entire community and we have members of all ages. There are those who attend to maintain good health and fitness and others who are taking part in competition and looking to improve performance. Respect for one another and discipline are a must for all members of the club.
Where is the best place to buy running gear in DR Congo?
We buy our equipment in the Virunga Market (Marché Central de Virunga) because that is the best place to find good equipment at a cheaper price. There is also a shop called Kasé China where you can find all kinds of sports equipment.
Tell us about the best local races in DR Congo?
The Ekiden Amani is the premier race that is anticipated by all athletes in Goma. It's a 42 km team relay race attended by professionals and amateurs alike. In the Ekiden format, the 42km distance is divided into six legs of different distances and each team of six athletes runs one leg each (5km-10km-5km-10km-5km-7km).
Apart from Ekiden Amani, the other competitions come as a surprise because they are not at a regular time or every year.
Can you recommend a local dish/venue to eat after a long run or race in DR Congo?
After training we get together as a team to take milk and chapati or tea contentment soy and chapati for recovery and in the week we also eat sugar cane. For foreign visitors, there is a restaurant in town called Pili Pili that offers a variety of cuisine and drinks.
Thanks to Miguel for taking us for a virtual run in Goma!
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