[MARATHON #240 / Unique Marathon #140 / 7 March 2020]
The chance to run a golden jubilee marathon happens once every 50 years. The chance to run the golden jubilee of the Diamond Marathon is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Therefore, when it came to planning my 2020 race schedule, the first race that went down in ink was the Northern Cape’s oldest marathon.
[MARATHON #239 / Unique Marathon #139 / 29 February 2020]
For the last few years, my daughters’ mid-term break had provided the opportunity for the family to have a short holiday (and for dad to run a new marathon). This year it was down to the Fairest Cape for the inaugural Hemel and Aarde Marathon, run between Caledon and Hermanus.
For those unfamiliar with Afrikaans, ‘Hemel’ means Heaven and ‘Aarde’ means Earth. Despite what Belinda Carlisle sang in the 80s, Heaven is not a place on Earth, but the Hemel and Aarde is a marathon in the Western Cape.
[MARATHON #237 / Unique Marathon #137 / 9 February 2020]
I was viewing the Hillcrest Marathon as something of a grudge purpose. Big field, big city, double-lap routes are my least favourite marathon type. Once a year is more than enough to ingratiate my legs on the Comrades route – and my muscle memory still hadn’t forgotten their last visit in June. Needless to say, my legs were happy to wait another few months before setting foot in Hillcrest again. What is more, during the Red Hill Marathon in Cape Town, barefoot runner Peter Taylor told me that Hillcrest has the roughest roads on the Comrades route. Continue reading “Hillcrest Marathon (Code Brown on the Comrades route)”
If you’ve run the Hillcrest Marathon over the last decade, no doubt you would have seen the curious site of a distinguished gentleman sitting down to a fully-laden romantic breakfast for one. He paints a refined picture as one heads back into Hillcrest at the end of the first lap, leisurely working his way through an elaborate banquet whilst watching the runners steadily traipse past.
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s April and May marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
April is ultra month, with seven ultras dominating pairing nicely with the seven standard marathons on offer. There are just six road ultras in the world with over 1,000 finishers – five are run in South Africa and three of them are held in April (my own personal favourite ultra is the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon over the Easter weekend).
[MARATHON #236 / Unique Marathon #136 / 25 January 2020]
After running like an idiot for most of the year, I took things easy with ‘sensible running’ over the festive season. Despite running 34 marathons in 2019, I ended the year four kilograms heavier than I was at the end of 2018. In an effort to curb additional gains to the midriff, I decided to switch to Lite beer but I should have heeded the, “If It ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra. Lite beer and sensible running are a lethal combination to the serious marathon runner and resulted in my first injury in over six years.
Following the extended bout of end-of-year marathon abstinence, I look forward to mid-January when I finally get a chance to butter my Mielie again in Welkom at the first marathon of the year. Unfortunately, the injury meant I had to wait all the way until the end of January before consummating my running year. I did however, save my legs for someone special – the Red Hill Marathon in the south of Cape Town. Continue reading “Red Hill Marathon (Fish Hoek, line & sinker)”
[MARATHON #233 / Unique Marathon #133 / 23 November 2019]
Part I: Tracey Trolls the Internet
You couldn’t miss the Magoeba Plunge Marathon, there was a constant barrage on social media publicizing the event. This was Tracey van den Dool’s baby and she was a proud expectant mother. I am not sure where she found the time, but it seemed like every free moment was spent thinking of innovative ways to promote the event in the lead-up.
Tracey trolled the internet and every time someone asked a question about “recommended marathons” there was an almost immediate response from one Tracey van den Dool saying, “Come to Tzaneen and check out the Magoeba Plunge”. She also had plenty of engagement with her potential customers, for example when someone said, “Will there be watermelon?”, watermelon was added to the shopping list.
[MARATHON #232 / Unique Marathon #132 / 16 November 2019]
Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario are collectively known as The Great Lakes of North America. In the United Kingdom, the county of Cumbria boasts the world-famous Lake District and National Park. In Africa, Lake Victoria’s secret wetland has long since been exposed. However, very few people know that South Africa has its own secret ‘Lake District’ tucked away in rural Mpumalanga.
[MARATHON #231 / My 2nd Bela-Bela Marathon / 9 November 2019]
Global warming is starting to make its impression on town names: Warmbad, Afrikaans for “Hot Bath”, recently changed its name (and from liquid to gas) to Bela-Bela, which means Boiling-Boiling in Tswana.
South African runners are generally pretty resilient to heat but I remember passing the discarded bodies of melted runners lying at the side of the road when I previously ran the Bela-Bela Marathon in 2010. Burn out was recently recognised as an official syndrome by the World Health Organisation – and I expect there is an epidemic in Bela-Bela.