At least 37 foreigners have registered to take part in the 2017 edition of Mount Mulanje Porters’ Race at Likhubula Forestry Office in Mulanje on July 8.
According to Kondwani Chamwala, communications officer for one of the competition’s organisers Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT), the foreign athletes are from Japan, England, USA, Canada and Belgium.
“We expect more international runners to put their names on the list of participants as we draw closer to the date of the competition because at the same period last year, less than 30 foreigners showed interest but the number soared to 71 by the start of the event that attracted a total of 419 runners,” he said.
Chamwala said preparations are at an advanced stage although corporate partners are yet to express their interest in the extreme sporting event that sees runners trekking a 22-kilometre stretch up and across Mulanje Mountain.
“Last year, Save the Children used the event as a platform to campaign for the rights of children while Malawi Gaming Board provided prizes to the winners. But now, there is no corporate partners and this is a chance for other companies to take over,” he said.
The 2016 champion, Leo Chikhwaza, said he has left no stone unturned in a bid to defend the title.
The race, which MMCT and Tourism Association of Mount Mulanje (TAMM) organise in collaboration with departments of tourism, forestry and sports, starts at 6am and late registration is allowed at least 30 minutes before the onset of the contest. n