Kyaninga Triathlon: Arguably the most beautiful triathlon in the world
If you have to swim just under 1 kilometre, bike 17 kilometres and run 4km all while trying to come in first, there is no better place to do it than in and around the gorgeous Lake Kyaninga, one of the many crater lakes in Fort Portal and also, claimable, the cleanest lake in the world.
Those numbers are for the shorter race, the participants in the longer race swim 1½ kilometres, bike around the village for 35km and run around the rim of the crater lake for 8km, essentially doubling the shorter race.
The participants for the 3rd annual Kyaninga Triathlon come from all over East Africa, from South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. This edition also sees the biggest number of Ugandan participants. There were also participants of all ages ranging from 15 years old to 63 years young. 😉 Three 15 year olds, Julian Lescur who did the men’s long distance in 2h 53m 19s, Gabriel Williams who did the men’s short distance in 1h 44m 55s and Milenka Sloots who did the ladies’ short distance in 1h 49m 2s all came in first in their respective age categories. There was also 63 year old Albert Kilian who did the men’s short distance in 1h 40m 31s and 48 year old Luc Boydens who completed the men’s long distance in 3h 25m 32s. These are all impressive times.
The race is split into 6 groups, the men’s long and short, the women’s long and short and the team’s long and short. Gabrielle Chaizy set all time record as the fastest lady to ever finish the ladies’ long distance in 2h 55mm 49s and also the ladies’ long distance swim in 23m 50s and the fastest ladies’ long distance bicycle in 1ht 32m 45s. Ismael Sebayigga rode the fastest men’s long distance bike race in 1hr 16m 3s and Paul Lubega set the fastest time for the men’s long distance run at 42m 38s. Rupert Barthop, the organiser of the triathlon and an avid triathlete himself, also set the record for fastest men’s short distance with a time of 1h 19m 48s.
The run is particularly arduous with the track cresting peak after peak with no valleys in sight. Most of the participants I spoke to right after the run talked of the relief they felt at cresting the last summit. But this run also does go around the rim of Lake Kyaninga affording the runners all of the best views of the lake for 360 degrees. The bike ride goes through the village just outside the gate of Kyaninga Lodge. The trail goes through banana plantations and over beautiful hills and the residents of the village come out to watch the athletes fly by on their bicycles.
The swim is a triangle about a third into Lake Kyaninga. The lake is lovely to swim in as I discovered later in the day, it was just always the exact right temperature. To compound the beauty is Kyaninga Lodge itself. Opened in 2011, the lodge is testament to the love and care of its construction. Have a drink on the deck and watch the sunset as you’ve never seen it before or wake up to the sun rising into your room window. The lodge was the perfect place to rest off the race.
This year’s race was sponsored by Impact Water and as it has since it started, it has also been a fundraising for The Maria Fund which has been helping Maria, a functionally blind Ugandan teenager gain the use of her eyes and in the long run establish a way to help other children with the same affliction.
To keep track of when the next triathlon will happen, whether you want to participate or whether you want an excuse for a beautiful weekend away, find more information on the triathlon’s website www.kyaningatriathlon.com or like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/kyaningatriathlon