Joram Zakaria Mollel is proof that age really is nothing but a number when it comes to chasing and achieving your dreams. The 90 year-old grandfather recently participated in the 21.1km Kilimanjaro Half Marathon, winning the hearts of many people with his perseverance.
The Kilimanjaro Half Marathon is in its 15th year. The event is recognized by IAAF, the world athletics body. The event was first conceived in 2002 by Wild Frontiers, with about 300 to 400 runners taking part in the event.
This year’s event was highlighted by the presence of the 90 year-old grandfather Joram, whose remarkable story continues warming the hearts of many. According to Tigo website, one of the sponsors of the marathon, Mollel was born in Arusha and grew up in Kijenge. While working in Mgambo as a security guard, he found his passion for long distance running, and after years of seeing other runners, Joram decided to finally join a running group.
He has relocated over time, which has resulted in the unfortunate loss of his photographs; memories that he now can’t look back on. According to Tigo, running is a part of the 90 year-old’s life and he not only draws strength from it, a strength which enables him to complete his daily activities, but finds comfort in it too.
This year was Mollel’s tenth year of participating in the 21.1km Kilimanjaro Marathon. The marathon event has been seen as a boost in the discovery of long distance runners in Tanzania.
Social media didn’t waste time in creating a hashtag for Mollel with the hashtag #TeamBabu. Babu means grandfather in Kiswahili. In a video promoting the Kilimanjaro (Kili) Half Marathon Babu threw a challenge asking if he can participate in the event despite his advanced age, why not you?
Mollel, in an inspirational message said, many still don’t believe he can finish the race, while others are saying he should stop. His determination didn’t stop him. The grandfather enjoys exercising.
Life has many challenges but life is like a marathon race. Mollel’s story is an inspiration, whose central message is never give up. In a marathon race there are many challenges. If we can endure all these, we can reach where we are going. Don’t be discouraged, be courageous and keep up till the end. Your age certainly is not an impediment.
Babu Mollel as he is fondly referred to completed the 21km race in 4 hours.
Watch video (Courtesy of TIGOTanzania)