The run is the brainchild of Simon Mtuy, a Tanzanian who has earned world-wide respect for his trail running skills. Back in 2006 Simon set a record for running to the summit of the mountain, reaching the top in just 9 hours and 21 minutes. That record was broken in 2013 when Simon helped Kilian Jornet beat his mark. Jornet managed to make the trip just 7 hours and 14 minutes. The current record, held by Ecuadorian mountain runner Karl Egloff stands at 6 hours, 56 minutes, and 24 seconds by the way. To put that in perspective, on my recent climb up Kili, we spent the better part of seven days reaching the summit.
But they Kilimanjaro Stage Run isn't about speed or setting records. Instead, it covers 260 km (161.5 miles) over 11 days as participants travel completely around the base of the iconic mountain. The runners stay on dirt tails and footpaths the entire way, at altitudes that range from 1400-2000 meters (4593-6561 ft). They pass through dense rainforests, pass beautiful waterfalls, and immerse themselves into Tanzanian culture in small villages along the way. All the while, the snowcapped peak of Kili looms tall overhead.
The Nat Geo article gives readers a good indication of what the run is all about, and provides excellent insights into the experience for intrepid trail runners who are considering attempting the run themselves. You can also check out the fantastic short film called Mountain of Greatness, which you'll find below. It follows a team of runners who completed the KSR back in 2012, and gives viewers an even better sense of what it is like out on the trail.
The 2015 edition of the Kilimanjaro Stage Race is set to take place from October 17-27 of this year. If you're interested in running it, you can find out more here. Sign up and get busy training. There is still plenty of time to prepare.