Trail Runner Extraordinaire!

Simon Mtuy   /  

Simon Mtuy KSR leaderSimon Mtuy was born in Mbahe Village, not far from the main entrance gate to Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. At the age of 14 he began earning a few shillings per day as a porter carrying huge loads of gear and equipment up the mountain for the foreign tourists who came to climb Kilimanjaro. Despite the rigors of the hard physical labor, Simon enjoyed the excitement of being on the mountain, working as a team, and practicing his English with the climbers.

But Simon had a hidden talent…. Tall and slender, he has a powerful stride and is very agile. He enjoyed running and showed extreme fitness on the mountain. As a result, when working as a guide for another climbing company, Simon was chosen by the owner to lead a client on a run up Kilimanjaro. He very much enjoyed the experience of running free on the mountain, testing his endurance, all while admiring the beauty of the trails.

During a visit to the United States in 2000 Simon competed in his first ultra-marathon trail race. For years Simon had been training and racing regularly, with local success as a sub-2:30 marathoner. Never one to shy away from a challenge, on a whim Simon registered for the Miwok 100 kilometer endurance run just a few days prior to the 2000 race. Starting too fast in the early miles, he built a large lead over his nearest competitor, but soon experienced the consequences of his rookie mistake and was passed by several runners. He managed to maintain his stamina for a strong top 30 finish in his inaugural ultra. That one race was enough to get him hooked on the sport.

Since then Simon has made annual trips to the U.S. to compete in numerous ultras, including the prestigious 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, which he has completed ten times – the most of any international runner. He became the first international to earn a coveted 1000-mile/10-day belt buckle from this prestigious event.

In 2006 Simon spent 12 days by himself on Kilimanjaro, training at different elevations to prepare for a world record attempt for the fastest ascent and descent of the mountain. The idea of attempting a new record was for Simon a way to help others by raising funds for HIV/AIDS awareness in communities on the mountain where AIDS has claimed thousands of lives, including that of his older brother. Simon’s run was completely unsupported as he carried all his own food and collected water from streams along the way. He made the run up and down the mountain in a record 9 hours, 22 minutes, unassisted.

And in 2010, Simon Mtuy helped train and prepare world-famous sky runner Kilian Jornet to break Simon’s own record for the fastest assisted ascent and descent of Mount Kilimanjaro, using the challenging Umbwe Route.

KSR 2012

Simon and Kilian by Stephan Repke

Despite the responsibilities running his Tanzania adventure travel company, Summit Expeditions & Nomadic Experience, Simon continues his intensive training by fitting in runs whenever and wherever he can. While on the mountain he has been known to rise early to enjoy pre-dawn runs on the slopes before the day’s hike. He also finds that training runs immediately before and after long international flights help him avoid jet lag.

Kili Run 2012

The first edition of Simon’s Kilimanjaro Stage Run

After several years of scouting the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro, Simon has established a 260 kilometer route that completely encircles the mountain outside of the national park. These trails and footpaths – used by locals for centuries – go through diverse landscapes with uniquely beautiful sights at every turn. Simon assembled his crew of cooks, drivers, navigators, and guides to launch the first 8-day Kilimanjaro Stage Run in October of 2012 with a small group of international runners, as documented in the film Mountain of Greatness.

Simon’s dream of the KSR was fueled by several factors. The mountain has been an important part of his life – as the provider of life-sustaining water and fertile soil for his family’s farm on which he grew up, as a livelihood with his climb business, and as a boundless source of beautiful and challenging trails for running, the sport he loves. Simon has been on the mountain hundreds of times and it holds a spiritual aspect for him. The Kilimanjaro Stage Run offers the chance for him to share all these together with fellow trail running enthusiasts from around the world.

Come join Simon running the slopes of Kilimanjaro!


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