Run Rwanda: Ugandan Border -Gisenyi

Wow, what a first week we’ve had on Run Rwanda. It’s been an incredible journey so far and this charismatic little country never fails to surprise us.

After our first couple of days acclimatising in Kigali, we packed up our fairly rusty 4×4 and headed up to the Ugandan border. It took us over 4 hours to make our way across the rolling mountains that stretch up to the northern border and with 15 miles to run that day, we were already behind schedule as I jumped out of the jeep and started running through a rather bizarre border town. It was a great feeling to finally get our Run Rwanda adventure under way!

Resting for the night in Ruhengeri, the next day gave us a slightly premature break from running as we took the opportunity to fulfil a life long ambition and trek Mountain Gorillas in the beautiful Volcanoes National Park.

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Mountain Gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is now home to over half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas and it was awe inspiring to see them up close and in the wild. The legacy of Diane Fossey is an inspiring conservation story!

The next stage of the run was a 45 mile route over the northern mountains, to Gisenyi on the Congolese border and nestled against the lapping waves of Lake Kivu. Before setting off, we were lucky enough to visit the HQ of the Rwandan Cycling team, another of the country’s unique success stories. Jock (a former professional cyclist and the first American to participate in the Tour De France) and his wife Kimberly, showed us around their impressive Africa Rising Cycling Centre and were hugely generous with their time, especially given they were flying off to the Olympics in Brazil the next morning!

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John being shown around by Jock, the founder of the Africa Rising Cycling Centre

Later the same day we were excited to visit our first AEC entrepreneur! Esther runs a small but beautiful local Rwandan restaurant just outside of Ruhengeri and she treated us to a delicious lunch, while telling us her inspiring story that led to her opening the ‘Forever Peace’ restaurant 6 months ago. Business is good and I’m sure it won’t be too long before her restaurant empire begins to grow!

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Esther, the founder of Forever Peace reastaurant

Our next 2 days on Run Rwanda involved long stretches out on the mountain roads and countless cries of Muzungo as we passed through fascinating mountain villages and markets. Apparently it’s the school holidays so more often than not we’re followed by 15-20 local children, which is incredibly endearing (and sometimes a little distracting!)

Having finally reached Gisenyi, we’ll be spending the next 4 days out on the Congo Nile trail, as we run the length of Lake Kivu and gain a real insight into untouched rural Rwanda!

Cate, our photographer has already managed to document the trip through some terrific photo’s, a couple of which I’ve included within this blog.

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us to date! If you’d like to follow Run Rwanda, you can see exactly where we are on the Tracking website: https://share.delorme.com/JohnGunn

Our next update will come from Kibuye, where we’ll begin our run East back towards Kigali!

Wish us luck!

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