The Running Mann’s Guide to April/May Marathons & Ultras

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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 the lonely three marathons on offer. There are just six road ultras in the world with over 1,000 finishers – they are all run in South Africa and four of them are held in April (my own personal favourite ultra is the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon over the Easter weekend).

May is much quieter as the South Africa marathon calendar revolves around Comrades qualification which ends on 1 May. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to April/May Marathons & Ultras”

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Tuks Marathon (Earning your undergraduate degree the hard way)

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[Marathon #206 / Unique Marathon #116 / 16 February 2019]

Father Christmas, unicorns, working indicators on BMWs and single-lap marathons in Pretoria. Before 2018 none of these existed – three still don’t.

Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city, is crammed full of bureaucrats and civil servants who like nothing more than to capture everything in duplicate – this philosophy spills out onto the streets with all their road running events being double-lappers. I am not sure whether there has ever has been a single-lap marathon in Pretoria but there has definitely never been one in Tshwane*. Call me a Doubting Thomas but when I heard that the Bestmed Tuks Marathon was a single-lap route I had to see it for myself to believe it. Continue reading “Tuks Marathon (Earning your undergraduate degree the hard way)”

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Klerksdorp Marathon (You Shouldn’t Judge A Town By Its Main Road)

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[Marathon #205 / Unique Marathon #115 / 9 February 2019]

Klerksdorp was never high on my list of marathons to run. I almost ran it last year but then “got a better offer” and ended up doing Potties instead. There are some marathons that I look forward to doing and others I look forward to getting done – and I was expecting this to be one of the latter.

My only previous exposure to Klerksdorp has been driving through the city on the N12 – normally on the long drive to Kimberley for one of their marathons. People slow down to look at car crashes but they avert their eyes when driving through Klerksdorp. The only redeeming factor for Klerksdorp is that her N12 façade is slightly less ugly than that of her close neighbour Potchefstroom.

On top of this, the towns Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom are both are incredibly irritating with lots of slow, exasperating traffic and dozens (may well be hundreds) of infuriating, stop-start segments. Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom are like the mosquito and the fly – everyone tells you that they serve some kind of purpose, but no one can tell you what that purpose is. Continue reading “Klerksdorp Marathon (You Shouldn’t Judge A Town By Its Main Road)”

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Meerkat Marathon (The One With A Presidential Sendoff)

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[Marathon #204 / Unique Marathon #114 / 2 February 2019]

Once a year, I take out the one wood for the long drive to Kimberley – five to six gruelling hours along the N12. I am slowly working through all the Kimberley and Northern Cape marathons in my quest to run every marathon in the country. When scheduling my races, the annual trip to Kimberley is one of the first to go into the plan – but I can only face doing the drive there once per year.

Took out the 1-wood for the long drive to Kimberley to run the Meerkat Marathon.

Continue reading “Meerkat Marathon (The One With A Presidential Sendoff)”

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Ottosdal Night Marathon (Testing the Limits of Delayed Gratification)

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[Marathon #203 / Unique Marathon #113 / 26 January 2019]

The Ottosdal Marathon is one of the last races left from my original running bucket list. The race is the subject of much folklore amongst the inland running community for two reasons:

  1. Starting at 5:30pm, it is the only night marathon on the South African calendar, and
  2. Some nutters* make the most of the opportunity and use Ottosdal as the meat in the middle of their marathon running sandwich, with this being the second of three marathons they run in just over 24-hours.

* Similarly to driving, where anyone slower that you is a classified as a dithering idiot and anyone faster a raving lunatic; Anyone who runs less than you is an idle slacker and anyone who runs more is an absolute nutjob. Continue reading “Ottosdal Night Marathon (Testing the Limits of Delayed Gratification)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to March Marathons & Ultras

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s March marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

The combination of a five-weekend month and a late Easter (and therefore Two Oceans)  makes March the busiest month on the South African marathon running calendar with 27 marathons and ultras. There are fantastic options in every corner of our beautiful country which makes this the ideal month for a running vacation (that’s a holiday planned around marathons – not a break from running!). Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to March Marathons & Ultras”

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Mielie Marathon (The Amaizeing Race)

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[Marathon #202 / 2nd Mielie Marathon / 19 January 2019]

When I was young and naïve I thought you had to wait until the end of January to run your first marathon of the year. Luckily, I’m older and wiser now – and this new-found wisdom has unearthed two great options for those that want to get their first marathon done a week earlier: Either go digging for diamonds in the Kalahari Desert or butter your mielie in Welkom.

Mielie is a flat marathon through the Free State gold and cornfields.

Continue reading “Mielie Marathon (The Amaizeing Race)”

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Prison to Prison Marathon (The Breede Valley Jailbreak)

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[Marathon #201 / Unique Marathon #112 / 8 December 2018]

In my effort to monopolise the South African running calendar, I managed one last roll of the 2018 marathon running dice in December. I was aiming to land on Breede River Valley to add a new marathon to my portfolio but, after flying down to Cape Town and completing the 90-minute drive to Worcester, I did not pass go and went directly to jail. Luckily, I had already paid for my ‘get out of jail free’ card – a simple R120 ($9/£7) transaction to register for the Prison to Prison Marathon.

Continue reading “Prison to Prison Marathon (The Breede Valley Jailbreak)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to February Marathons

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s February marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

Marathon running is in full swing in February and those who still need to run a qualifier have 24 great options to choose from all around the country. Unqualified Two Oceans runners should be looking to get a marathon under the belt so that there is no pressure for the 18th of March cut-off.  Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to February Marathons”

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Josiah Gumede Marathon (Escaping Black Friday in the Drakensberg)

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[Marathon #200 / Unique Marathon #111 / 24 November 2018]

A good way to avoid the Black Friday madness that has engulfed our country over the last few years is to head into the countryside. As luck would have it, a new marathon had popped onto the calendar which provided a reliable means of escape: The Josiah Gumede Marathon (42.2 point-to-point kilometres nestled into the northern Drakensburg). Continue reading “Josiah Gumede Marathon (Escaping Black Friday in the Drakensberg)”

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