PHOTOS & VIDEO: Fun, fitness at Waka Warrior obstacle race

Finally the day came and when it did, it turned out to be one of healthy, fun and action packed outdoor activities, but also a day of military style drills that tested the endurance of participants.
A pair of runners tries to maneuver around a hurdle. / Photos: Faustin Niyigena
A pair of runners tries to maneuver around a hurdle. / Photos: Faustin Niyigena

Finally the day came and when it did, it turned out to be one of healthy, fun and action packed outdoor activities, but also a day of military style drills that tested the endurance of participants.

On one hand was a bunch of people that had the courage to undertake a physical drill they didn’t think they could accomplish, while on the other hand was people that came out in large numbers to root for the very people that were giving it a try.


In its second year running, the Waka Warrior Obstacle Race, once again brought fitness freaks together at the Masaka Farms on the outskirts of Kigali on Sunday. It was initially supposed to take place on May 13 but it was postponed after the race course flooded after days of rainfall.

A group of participants climbing one of the muddy hurdles.
A participant is excited at finding a golf ball while others are still on the search in the background.
A participant receives support to overcome a hurdle during the race.
A runner after successfully crawling under a fence barrier.
A runner during one of the challenges on her own.
Competitors drag a 20-litre jerrycan of water through a muddy channel.
Drinking water was availed to participants at the Waka Warriors race.
Jean-Baptiste Nkurunziza was the winner in individuals category and was awarded several awards including RwandAir's ticket to an EAC destination of his choice.
Jumping over this fire was one of the hurdles at the annual race.
Model, dancer and actress Alexia Uwera Mupende announcing the winners of Waka Warriors Race 2017 in Masaka yesterday.
One of the challenges was carrying a sandbag.
Participants climb over a hurdle of poles and tyres.
Participants make use of a washing site.
Participants try to clean themselves after one of the rounds during the race.
Searching for a golf ball buried under the mud was one of the hardest tasks.
Some of the organisers and sponsors pose for a group photo after the Waka Warriors race yesterday.
Some of the participants covered in mud after crossing the finish point.
Spectators look on as a group of competitors take on a challenge.
The winners in the group category celebrate victory.

Organised by Waka Fitness, a fitness centre based in Kimihurura in Kigali, the obstacle race involves overcoming different physical obstacles in a way that is not only fun but also healthy.


This year saw a sizeable increase in attendance, with over 400 participants as opposed to 300 last year. It involved a giant outdoor obstacle race set up in the expansive lawns of the Masaka Farms, and on which participants had to race and overcome various physical challenges and obstacles.

Activities ranged from the dangerous to the challenging – from jumping fires, crawl-through marts, to push-ups, mud and trail runs, jumping over bon fires, piles of car tires, high walls and small mountains.

It was easy to tell participants from their sweaty, muddied bodies and sports gear, not to mention the laughter and smiles, as the activities were more of fun than competition.

But the signature activity at the race involved getting oneself dirty by plunging into puddles of muddy water in artificial water dams constructed on the race course.

But it was not all about the race course and getting oneself dirty. The event was much about the participants in the various physical drills as it was about socialising.

Several patrons turned out with their loved ones, children and friends to not only enjoy the adrenaline-inducing race course action but also to socialise, network and dance to the DJ music and sway to the beat of the traditional drummers troupe that sounded their drums all day long.

In all, there were a total of 36 obstacles to overcome this year, a significant increase from the previous edition. Yesterday, there were three obstacle courses as opposed to just one last year.

In the end, winners were awarded several small prizes that ranged from gift hampers and complimentary gym to free flights and hotel accommodation, thanks to the different sponsors.

“The amount of activities they undertook is almost based on what people do in the military and yet these are ordinary people and they did it so well. I’m really impressed with the support and seeing people do all these things,” said Dennis Dydal, the Managing Director of Waka Fitness which organised the Waka Warrior Obstacle Race.

“The “warrior” in the name came from another class we have at Waka Fitness, which is for women that we train and they’re showing us that they’re so ambitious and really tough and doing so many things that men are not doing, he explained.

“This is really a good sign of how the community comes together to do something that is fun,” he added.

The organisers plan to make it an annual regional event.

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