Run 172 : Comoros – Moroni

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Date : 23rd March, 2019

Time : 1h 2’ 24”

Number of runners (total to date) : 8 (3711)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 215 (2829)

Run map and details :

Comoros, situated between Mozambique and Madagascar, is a one hour flight from Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. I ran in all those countries back in 2014 and should, of course, have run in Comoros at the same time.

But it wasn’t on my itinerary for the simple reason that I didn’t realise Comoros was there. A schoolboy error for which I was to pay a high price.

Instead of jumping on a one hour flight from Dar, I left my hotel in Khartoum at 1am for my 3.30 am flight to Addis. I then spent 3 hours in Addis airport before a five hour flight to Comoros (via Dar…). Most of the flight to Comoros was spent sitting next to man so bulky that I should have had a 50% discount on my ticket.

Upon arrival we had an increasingly infuriating wait for our visa. Mostly, as far as I could tell, because the immigration officer insisted on asking exactly the same questions we’d already answered on the two separate forms we’d just completed and handed to him…

A bag search and luggage tag check followed before we were allowed to exit the airport and crawl into a taxi. Only to be caught behind election traffic. (Presidential elections were held on the Sunday after my run. Incumbent Azali Assoumani  was declared the winner with 60.77% of the vote – a result which was immediately denounced by opposition parties. The election process was also criticised by observers from regional bodies – many of whom were staying in the same hotel as me. )

 Eventually, after 15 hours of travel, I made it to my hotel room and reflected that the only good bit about the journey was meeting the Comoros Special Olympics team who were returning from Abu Dhabi 2019 with their medals. Many congratulations to Irham Ahmed below who won silver in the 100 meters!

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Which takes me neatly onto running and the run. I met Tsitsi – who used to work in Djibouti where she knew Rachel Jones – and 5 others at 6.30am at the Lycee Said Mohamed Cheikh.

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From whence we set off along the seafront at a 7’30” pace through Moroni (the capital of the Comoros).

We were joined by an eighth runner

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and the route turned inland and upwards.

Slowly, but surely, the pace increased. Once we turned downhill and back towards the school, the pace accelerated still further until we were running at sub 4’30” .

We did the final kilometre on the school’s sports ground

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and then it was time for the traditional ‘survivors’  photo and goodbyes.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you Tsitsi, Dalila and all my fellow runners for their company and support.

For anyone’s who’s interested, the subsequent journey back to London and home took a painful 21 hours. I promise you that I will never, ever again forget about Comoros!

If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Comoros is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte, and northwestern Madagascar. The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam.

At 1,660 km2 (640 sq mi), excluding the contested island of Mayotte, the Comoros is the fourth-smallest African nation by area. The population, excluding Mayotte, is estimated at 795,601.As a nation formed at a crossroads of different civilisations, the archipelago is noted for its diverse culture and history. The archipelago was first inhabited by Bantu speakers who came from East Africa, supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration.

The sovereign state is an archipelago consisting of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoro Islands. The major islands are commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Mohéli (Mwali), and Anjouan (Nzwani). In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte (Maore), though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, and continues to be administered by France (currently as an overseas department). France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly.

It became part of the French colonial empire in the end of 19th century before becoming independent in 1975. Since declaring independence, the country has experienced more than 20 coups d’état or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated. Along with this constant political instability, the population of the Comoros lives with the worst income inequality of any nation, with a Gini coefficient over 60%, while also ranking in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index. As of 2008 about half the population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.The French insular region of Mayotte, which is the more prosperous territory in the Mozambique Channel, is the major destination for Comorian illegal migrants who flee their country. The Comoros is a member state of the African UnionFrancophonieOrganisation of Islamic CooperationArab League (of which it is the southernmost state, being the only member state of the Arab League with a tropical climate and also entirely within the Southern Hemisphere) and the Indian Ocean Commission.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Comoros – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $1.07 bn 2017 $350 m 2000
Population 814 k 2017 542 k 2000
Primary school enrolment* 99% 2017 103% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.20 2014 0.19 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 63.7 yrs 2016 59.5 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1280 2017 $730 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Comoros performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.


About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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