Researcher, Mother and traveler

Running up the Kilimanjaro

Running up the Kilimanjaro

Every week I run up the Kilimanjaro. Well, from 900 meters altitude to maybe 1000 or 1010 meters or something. And it is pretty heavy, because at this altitude it is still tropical warm, very humid and steep. But I do enjoy it.

The green paradise

Since some years we live a little higher up and there is a nice environment to run. From my house I walk through coffee plantations with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is green everywhere, but super green, not only in the rainy season, but also outside. Last year my parents were visiting. I went running one night and my father went after me walking. “This is paradise,” he said. And so it is. It is really enjoying in addition to the effort.


I normally walk around sunset. It is less hot and often dry in the rainy season. A wonderful moment of the African day. And there are more who think so. Nowadays, on my half-hour tour, I meet around 20 boys who also run. Invariably they clap their hands when I meet them. Some run on slippers, others on oversized leather shoes, others have fancy running shoes. I walk on my black-and-pink fila running shoes, but they all pass by quickly. In addition to runners, I also encounter many to-home walkers. Every time I drive down Kilimanjaro, I meet a man who has stepped off his bike because it really got too hard to cycle up Kilimanjaro. He always looks tired and sweaty, but always tels me ‘Pole’. That means something like ‘I empathise with you’. I actually feel more sorry for him … and last week I met two students who had done an internship with us … a boy … and a girl … she was a bit of a shocked face when she saw me, he had a big smile.


I like to see that since I am running, the number of runners is increasing. Obesity is rapidly increasing here and with it the diseases of prosperity … especially of heart and blood vessels. Diabetes is also becoming a major epidemic. Yet there is still little attention for these diseases because it is still overshadowed by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. It is also difficult to get research funds for these diseases, for example. But the importance of exercise is seen by more and more people. It would be nice if this continues.