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!).

Although there are some great fast-and-flat marathons for those with something to prove and someone to impress, I would recommend conditioning your legs for Constantia Nek and Polly Shortts with a ‘flat-free’ diet.

March is your opportunity to run some of the toughest, but most beautiful, marathons in the country – like Marakele, Surrender Hill, Weskus or the Tzaneen Tuffy; go a little further at the biggest 50k race in the world – Om Die Dam; or experience old school running at it’s finest with the oldest standard marathon in the country – Jackie Gibson.

Summary

A summary of your choices is below:

Click to view a larger version.

Note to the reader: I am writing a monthly article detailing all the marathons and ultras on the South African running calendar which can be used as a definitive resource for the discerning marathon runner when picking their qualifiers and planning running holidays. Let me know if you have anything to add!

Recommended Runs

For a fast time (those chasing a seeding): If you didn’t manage to enter Vaal before they sold out take a look at Kosmos, Edenvale, Standerton, Gert Sibande or Knysna Heads.

For a good time (marathons packed with personality): There are some great 50k runs in March and I would recommend either the Uniwisp Fast One in Mbombela or Bruintjieshoogte in Somerset East – both offer the ultra running version of fine dining. If you’re watching your mileage and want to shed a few kilometres, you can’t go wrong with the Weskus Marathon through one of our beautiful coastal national parks.

For a special time (hard to get to races that all ‘real’ runners should do at least once): I have a provisional top 10 marathon list (which will only be finalised once I have completed the full set of South African marathons). However, the provisional list does have a few entries written in ink and one of them is Marakele – a marathon through an unfenced Big 5 national park. Read the entry below for full details.

For the first time (for those about to lose their marathon running virginity): The Deloitte Challenge from Ballito to Durban stands out as the race I would recommend for a first timer. A great atmosphere, a beautiful but easy route on closed roads and the opportunity to celebrate your accomplishment with sundowners on any of Kwazulu Natal’s beautiful beaches provide the perfect ingredients for a memorable first marathon.

For those who want to keep it ‘real’ (a special once-off category for March): Experience what old school marathon running is all about in the south of Jozi at the 74th Jackie Gibson Marathon. This is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of marathons – connoisseurs of pain, horror and gore will love it whilst the weak and squeamish will hate every minute.

What I’ll be running this year: The Surrender Hill, John Nugent, Knysna Heads, Great East, Bruintjieshoogte and Real Gijima marathons/ultras.

Detailed Information

All race information, links, flyers and travel guidance* verified with race organisers (unless otherwise noted).

* For practical reasons, all directions are from central Johannesburg as (1) the majority of runners are Gauteng based, (2) I live in Johannesburg and (3) whilst all roads might lead to Rome, all roads in South Africa lead away from Johannesburg!

Marakele Marathon

The magnificent Marakele – run a marathon in an unfenced Big 5 national paak.
Race Date Saturday 02 March 2019
Start Venue Marekele Game Reserve
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://www.facebook.com/marakelemarathon/
Contact Details info@nutickets.co.za; elisecoetzer65@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://racetime.nutickets.co.za/marakelemarathon
Pre-entries Close 28 February 2019
Title Sponsor Coca Cola Beverages SA
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 200
Extras? Goodie Bag
Late Entries? Yes (Race day entries only accepted if entry limit of 300 has not been reached)
# of 2018 Finishers 144
Race Description This was the best marathon I ran in 2017. It doesn’t get any better (or more South African) than running a marathon in an unfenced Big 5 game reserve. The Marakele National Park is nestled into the Waterberg and the race organisers ensure that you take time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings with one of the toughest climbs in the country to get to the turnaround point. Before heading back to the safety of base camp, take some time to enjoy the spectacular cliff faces. Whilst looking up, don’t be too concerned if vultures seem to be circling overhead and following you – the reserve is instrumental in the conservation of Cape Vultures with 800 breeding pairs (the most in the world).

Armed rangers are positioned every few hundred metres to keep a close eye on proceedings and ensure the safety of the runners. Depending on your thrill-seeking levels, you may be lucky (or unlucky) enough to get a big 5 sighting on route – in 2012 runners had to be couriered around a pride of lions lazing in the road and some 2017 runners blamed their slower than expected times on the lethargic elephant bull who wandered across the route. If you do encounter a predator during your run the standard game ranger advice is, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to run faster than a lion. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you!”

All proceeds go to the Marakele National park and its conservation projects. Each year the run themes itself around a different animal – 2019’s edition will earn you the Rhino medal (special race shirts can also be purchased).

Why Run It? Run a marathon in a Big 5 game reserve – simple as that. Until I have run them all, I am non-committal on the Top 10 marathons in South Africa but this one will definitely be on the list.
How To Get There? 250km (3h) – see how far the William Nicol/R511 goes north and the turn right to Thabazimbi.
Accommodation Options There are chalets and campsites in the park but these usually fill up very quickly. Marakele National Park – 082 936 4425
Mongatane Lodge – 072 447 3871 / 082 965 0002
Deo Volente Country Lodge – 082 651 5464
Interlude Guest House – 014 772 2972
Maroela Guest Lodge – 083 650 8081
Mirabile Lodge – 082 853 2314
Nader Guest House – 014 777 1376
Villa Toscana Guest House – 083 417 8338
Thabazimbi Guest House – 083 654 2154
Boschfontein Guest Farm Tel: 014 772-1102
What Else To Do There? Spend some time exploring the Marakele National Park on a guided safari – or for those with a bigger budget, there are plenty of excellent private reserves in the area.
Race Flyer 714166 SANParks Marakele Marathon 2019 A5_R

Harcourts Battlefields Marathon

Run the historic battlefields route (photo supplied).
Race Date Saturday 02 March 2019
Start Venue Hutten Park Primary, 4 Rietbok Avenue, Newcastle
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://newcastleharriers.co.za/event/battlefields-marathon-2019/
Contact Details vandermerwe.vernon@gmail.com / Vernon 083-410-0600 / Andre 083-766-5550
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://newcastleharriers.co.za/event/battlefields-marathon-2019/?tickets_process=#buy-tickets
Pre-entries Close 15 February 2019
Title Sponsor Harcourts
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 180
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 80
Race Description This is a hilly out-and-back route along the quiet D96 passed Fort Amiel (a garrison from the Anglo Boer which is now a national monument). Although the course is tough, the surrounding scenery is simply stunning – your legs might complain about the hills but your eyes will feast on the Drakensburg for the full 42.2 kilometres.
Why Run It? A tranquil marathon with 42.2 kilometres of pristine Drakensburg views.
How To Get There? 300km (3h15 drive) south
Accommodation Options Recommended by the organisers: Avalon Guest Manor and Tramonto Botique Hotel
What Else To Do There? Do a tour of the historic battlefields area.
Race Flyer

VKB Surrender Hill Marathon

Race Date Saturday 02 March 2019
Start Venue President Plein, Clarens
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://www.facebook.com/bethelehem.marathonklub
Contact Details info@limodoevents.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://entries.timeme.co.za/events/38562-vkb-surrender-hill-marathon
Pre-entries Close 27 February 2019
Title Sponsor VKB
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 180
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 129
Race Description One should always be wary of marathons with the word ‘hill’ in the title – the Surrender Hill Marathon enhances this reputation. It’s a gruelling double-lap route that takes one over 2,500m above sea level whilst you enjoy the natural beauty of the Maluti Mountains.
Why Run It? Surrender Hill was known as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ until 1900 when the Free State Boers surrendered to the British during the Angle Boer War. It is now a national heritage site and forms the focal point of the marathon. Saying that you’ve conquered Surrender Hill is must for all marathon runners.
How To Get There? 300km (3h15 drive) south
Accommodation Options Check out: Clarens Information Centre
What Else To Do There? Clarens is a small town with plenty of charm and quaint shops. The Maluti Moutains surround the town providing scenic options like horseriding, quad biking, hiking, river rafting, bushman paintings and dinosaur trails. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is also nearby.
Race Flyer  

Tzaneen Tuffy Marathon

If the Tzaneen hills don’t leave you breathless, the scenery will (photo supplied).
Race Date Saturday 02 March 2019
Start Venue Spies en Lombard Farm, Old Coach House Road, Agatha, Tzaneen
Route Type Circular
Website
Contact Details  tznmcchairman@gmail.com; tznmc1@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries
Pre-entries Close
Title Sponsor Spar / Aida / Galaxy Bingo
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 150
Extras? Goodie Bag
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 129
Race Description This is as difficult as marathons get. The first 17km smash your quads as you skydive from an altitude 1,200m down to 650m. If you go out too fast expect a lot of turbulence over the rest of your journey. For those that avoid a crash landing into the lowveld, the next few kilometres provide a chance to level out… but then it’s time to fasten your seatbelts for a monster 600m climb over 10km that will test the aviation skills of even the strongest marathon runner. As long as the wheels haven’t come off, the last 5km are an easy downhill for a smooth landing back in Tzaneen.
Why Run It? If you can fly up these hills, Comrades will be a breeze! And if the hills don’t leave you breathless, the scenery will.
How To Get There? 400km (4h30) along the N1 to Polokwane.
Accommodation Options Recommended by the organisers:  http://www.grannydots.co.za/; www.orionhotels.co.za/ohotel/coach-house-hotel-spa/
What Else To Do There? Fly fishing, zip-lining and the local crocodile farm. Check these sites for more: https://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/limpopo/bysuburb/tzaneen/ / http://www.magoebasklooftourism.co.za/
Race Flyer Tuffy Race Entry Form 2019

Uniwisp Fast 50k & Marathon

Dropping down into the lowveld (photo supplied).
Race Date Saturday 02 March 2019
Start Venue R37 Sabie Road-Mbombela Stadium
Route Type Point-to-point
Website https://www.uniwispmarathon.co.za/
Contact Details info@marathonclubnelspruit.co.za
Distance Options 50\42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://entries.raceinfo.co.za/
Pre-entries Close 17 February 2019
Title Sponsor UNIWISP GROUP
Perm, Numbers? Yes (50km only – 10th finish)
Entry Fee R 250
Extras? Shirt
Late Entries? Yes (R200 for marathon; Late entries at registration, no entries on race day)
# of 2018 Finishers 510
Race Description The fastest ultra in Africa. A point to point, downhill quadkiller that starts on the R37 towards Sabie and finishes at the Mbombela Stadium. Although the last few kilometres are similar to Kaapsehoop Marathon, this race drops you into Nelspruit/Mbombela via a different road. Take time to admire the views as you descend from the highveld to the lowveld – and enjoy the scents and colours of the local foliage and fauna.
Note: There is a 50km and standard marathon option – 50km recommended for better views and a better race shirt.
Why Run It? This is the fastest and easiest ultra marathon on the calendar. Make sure you stock up on ice to treat your quads afterwards though!
How To Get There? 350km (4) east along the N4.
Accommodation Options Many options on AirBNB, Lekkeslaap, Bookings.com
What Else To Do There? Mbombela is the stepping stone to the world-famous Kruger National Park – self-drive or splash out on a private lodge; Various Tourist attractions around town including Lowveld Botanical Garden and the Mafunyane Waterpark.
Race Flyer

Detailed ReportUniwisp Fast 50 (The Fastest Ultra in Africa)

Cape Gate Vaal Marathon

Hands-up if you like fast and flat marathons (Photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 03 March 2019
Start Venue Dick Fourie Stadium, Klipriver Drive, Three Rivers, Vereeniging
Route Type Double-lapper
Website http://www.vaalmarathon.co.za/
Contact Details admin@vaalmarathon.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=4336
Pre-entries Close 18 February 2019
Title Sponsor Cape Gate
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 210
Extras? Shirt (first 700 entries); Water bottle (all finishers)
Late Entries? No (Online entries sold out but some in-store entries may still be available)
# of 2018 Finishers 1894
Race Description This is an immensely popular qualification marathon and a race many a runner has PBed on. The two-laps are as fast and flat as South African marathons get. There is a very gradual climb over the first half of the lap whilst the second half includes the Three Rivers region (see if you can spot the Suikerbosch, Vaal and Klip Rivers).

Although Vaal Athletic Club (also known as sideways Celtics for their vertical green and white striped vest) has just 65 members they pull in friends, family and the local community to pull off the biggest sporting event in the Vaal Triangle. The race gives pays back the local community in kind with R10 from every 42 and 21 entry fee going to the Catherine Robson Children’s Home and Life Line Vaal Triangle respectively – and funds from previous race funds have been used to fix all the potholes on the route.

Why Run It? For those who are scared of curves, this is as flat as South African marathon get. Bring a rose to throw on the lawn of the late crooner Bles Bridges – you never know, he might be your father!
How To Get There? 60km (45m) south but allow more time for raceday traffic.
Accommodation Options Camp at the start of check out https://www.vaalmeander.co.za/
What Else To Do There? Enjoy an afternoon at the Vaal Dam or check out https://www.vaalmeander.co.za/ for other options.
Race Flyer

Harry Gwala District Marathon

Race Date Sunday 03 March 2019
Start Venue R612 Highflats – Umzimkhulu College
Route Type Point-to-point
Website
Contact Details tgumede@ubuhlebezwe.gov.za
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://www.eventtiming.info/entryonline.php?id=379
Pre-entries Close 28 February 2019
Title Sponsor Harry Gwala Municipality
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 200
Extras? Shirt
Late Entries? Yes (Late entries are R220)
# of 2018 Finishers 173
Race Description ?
Why Run It? ?
How To Get There? 600km (6h30). N3 to Pietermaritzburg and then head into the country or fly to King Shaka and 165km (2h) drive.
Accommodation Options ?
What Else To Do There? ?
Race Flyer 2019_Harry_Gwala_District_Marathon_Flyer

John Nugent Marathon

Two gents run the Nugent (Photo supplied).
Race Date Saturday 09 March 2019
Start Venue Desert Palace Casino, Upington
Route Type Double-lapper
Website https://www.facebook.com/johnnugentmemorial/
Contact Details russellnugent@me.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries http://www.onlineentry.co.za/event/JNMMemorial2019
Pre-entries Close 06 March 2019
Title Sponsor Keratoconus Foundation South Africa
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 200
Extras? Goodie Bag
Late Entries? Yes (Late entries at registration with a surcharge; no line entries)
# of 2018 Finishers 29
Race Description John Nugent was a prominent Upington optometrist who died of cancer 2014. He dedicated his life to eye-care in the region and his legacy is continued by his son with the John Nugent Marathon. All funds raised from the race are donated to the Keratoconus Foundation to fund corneal transplants for patients who can’t afford the procedure.

The two-lap route promises the best of Upington with stretches along the Orange River, vineyards, pecan orchards and scenic suburbs. Bring your all surface shoes because you’ll be running on farm roads, jeep tracks and tarmac. Although this is a flat course, there is a nasty heartbreak hill towards the end of each lap to make sure you earn your unique medal which is in the format of a pair of spectacles.

Why Run It? Together with the Spitskop (Upington’s other marathon), this is officially the hardest marathon to get to in the country: A 9-hour+ drive from all South Africa’s major cities or a very expensive once-a-day flight on SA Airlink. However, if you want to say you’ve run all over South Africa you need to notch up a marathon in all 19 athletics provinces – and this is the perfect opportunity to do so in the North Western Cape region.
How To Get There? 800km (8-9h drive) or very expensive 1h30 flight (over R6,000)
Accommodation Options Stay at the start: Desert Palace Hotel or check out Google for B&B options
What Else To Do There? The race is sponsored and hosted by the Desert Palace Hotel and Casino. There is plenty of on-site entertainment and Carel “Raasbekkie” Bezuidenhout will be hosting a quiz night the evening before the race (he’ll also be on the race day mic to ensure that all runners loosen up properly).
Other activities in Upington include sampling the local wines at Orange River Cellars followed by a sunset cruise on the Orange River. The spectacular Augrabies Water Falls (and national park) are just 120km away.
Race Flyer

Diamond Marathon

Race Date Saturday 09 March 2019
Start Venue St Patricks’s CBC Sport Field
Route Type Circular
Website https://www.kimberleyharriers.co.za/
Contact Details info@kimberleyharriers.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries
Pre-entries Close 08 March 2019
Title Sponsor Kimberley Ekapa Mining
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 170
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes (Line entries R190)
# of 2018 Finishers 50
Race Description Most humans learn walk when they are one years old. Kimblerley Harriers celebrated their first birthday with a marathon almost half a decade ago and they’ve now got the oldest mararathon in the Northern Cape. This year is the 49th running of the Diamond Marathon – a fast and flat route with the friendly runners from Kimberley.
Why Run It? If you can’t run it this year make plans to join them for the Golden Jubilee of the Diamond Marathon in 2020. There are not many marathons on the planet that get to turn 50 and this may be the smallest – with just 50 finishers in 2018. I am already planning ahead for 2030 as it would be pretty cool to run the the Diamond Jubilee of the Diamond Marathon!
How To Get There? 500km (5h) drive or 1h flight (approx R2,000 return)
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B options
What Else To Do There? Go digging for diamonds at the ‘Big Hole’ complex; Check out the historic battlefields as well as various memorials and museums; Have a beer at the Star of the West – the oldest pub in South Africa. There are also a few game viewing options within close driving distance.
Race Flyer Diamond Marathon Flyer

Diamond Marathon Entry Form

PWC Kosmos 3-in-1

You’ll never go hungry in Secunda. Biscuits, biltong, boerewors, Easter eggs, pretzels, jelly babies, marshmallows and potatoes (but thankfully no polony) – and that’s just at these 2 tables.
Race Date Saturday 09 March 2019
Start Venue Lake Umuzi Waterfront
Route Type Circular
Website http://kosmos3in1.co.za/
Contact Details info@kosmos3in1.co.za
Distance Options 42
Online Entries https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1484748363
Pre-entries Close 28 February 2019
Title Sponsor PWC
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 220
Extras? Shirt (3-in-1 entries before 31 Jan)
Late Entries? No (R450 for 3in1 entry)
# of 2018 Finishers 2016
Race Description A flat marathon where most of the participants stick around to run another half marathon at lunchtime and a further 10km in the evening for a 73.3km total. You can run all three or enter events individually. The race has superb refreshment tables hosted by the local community – so you’ll be well fed and supported over the course of the day (Fats Cats AC were known as the Slightly Overweight Cats AC before they started their annual pilgrimage to Kosmos). All races start and finish at the Lake Umuzi Waterfront – an excellent venue that provides plenty of entertainment options for the kids while mom and/or dad run.
Why Run It? Many runners swear by the 3-in-1 as the cornerstone of their Comrades prep; Brilliant, well-stocked tables and a great family friendly race venue.
How To Get There? 130km (1h30) drive east along the N17.
Accommodation Options Stay at the venue Lake Umuzi:
+27 17 631 3452/087 233 5082 centralres@lakeumuzi.co.za or check out B&B options on Google.
What Else To Do There? There’s plenty to do in and around the Lake Umuzi Waterfront including a waterpark, adventure golf, restaurants and other entertainment.
Race Flyer PwC_Kosmos3in1_Flyer_2019

Detailed ReportKosmos 3-in-1 (Where A Marathon Is The Soft Option)

Anco Ultra

Race Date Saturday 09 March 2019
Start Venue Welkom Swimming Pool
Route Type Triple-lapper
Website http://www.goudveldmultisport.co.za/event/anco-ultra-marathon-4-in-1/
Contact Details heidi@pgnk.net
Distance Options 48\32\16\5
Online Entries
Pre-entries Close
Title Sponsor ANCO Engineering
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 150
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers N/A
Race Description This is a replacement for the 50k out-and-back race from the Aldam Dam near Vertersburg. It’s a flat 16km route through Welkom geared for local runners to get another long run in before Comrades.
Why Run It? If you’re in Welkom and you’re bored (but I repeat myself).
How To Get There? 250km (2h30) drive from Joburg down the N1.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B options
What Else To Do There? If anyone knows of anything worthwhile doing in Welkom (other than running a marathon) please let me know.
Race Flyer

Zululand Ultra Marathon

Note: No details available for this race. Race organiser uncontactable. Anyone with more details – please let me know.

Race Date Sunday 10 March 2019
Start Venue Ulindi Airport
Route Type Point-to-point
Website ?
Contact Details bzwane@zululand.org.za
Distance Options 56\?
Online Entries ?
Pre-entries Close ?
Title Sponsor ?
Perm, Numbers? ?
Entry Fee ?
Extras? ?
Late Entries? ?
# of 2018 Finishers 467
Race Description ?
Why Run It? ?
How To Get There? 520km (5h30) drive or fly to King Shaka and 200km (2h) drive.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? ?
Race Flyer

Buffalo Marathon

Race Date Sunday 10 March 2019
Start Venue N6 Mcleantown -Buffs club
Route Type Point-to-point
Website https://www.buffaloroadrunners.co.za/
Contact Details metascott@telkomsa.net
Distance Options 42\21
Online Entries https://entrytickets.net/buffs
Pre-entries Close 04 March 2019
Title Sponsor Jumbo Cash & Carry
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 180
Extras? Shirt (first 900 entries)
Late Entries? No (R20 discount for online entries)
# of 2018 Finishers 793
Race Description A fast, downhill marathon that starts near Macleantown at an altitude of 500m and drops you back to sea-level at the Buffs Club in East London.
Why Run It? Chat to the organisers about running their flagship race – the Washie 100 miler.
How To Get There? 1,000km (10h) drive or 1h30 flight to East London (R1,000 – R2,000 return) and 50km (1h) drive.
Accommodation Options Stay at one of the beachfront hotels (Windsor Cabanas, Regent, ICC, Osner, Garden Court) or book a room at one of the many B&Bin the area.
What Else To Do There? Explore the local beaches – good for swimming, surfing, fishing or just relaxing; Some excellent private game reserves are close-by to see Africa’s big game by land as well as whales and sharks by boat. Check out https://www.eastlondon.org.za/tourism.html for more.
Race Flyer BUFFS 2019 entry form

Edenvale Marathon

Race Date Sunday 10 March 2019
Start Venue Edenvale High School
Route Type Double-lapper
Website http://randroadwarriors.co.za/edenvale-marathon/
Contact Details race@randroadwarriors.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=4408
Pre-entries Close 03 March 2019
Title Sponsor StaminoGro
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 195
Extras? Shirt (first 2,000 online entries)
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 1073
Race Description This is your stock-standard East Rand double-lapper. However, it’s one of the very few Gauteng races that takes race day entries so is a good option if you still need a qualifier or decide your legs need to be treated to another marathon. All money raised from the event goes into the local community. This year’s beneficiaries are the Kidneybeanz Trust (a non-profit organization supporting children with life threatening kidney disease) and security cameras for the local Community Policing Forum (CPF). The CPF will be on marshalling duty so if you spot a rival cutting a corner let them know!
Why Run It? If you’re lastminute.com or just need another marathon on the legs, this is one of the very few Gauteng marathons that takes line entries.
How To Get There? Edenvale is 15km east of central Joburg with many access points.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B & Hotel options
What Else To Do There?
Race Flyer

Om Die Dam 50k

Stop to enjoy a dam fine view when you cross the  Hartbeespoort Dam wall.
Race Date Saturday 16 March 2019
Start Venue Hartbeespoort Holiday Resort 5, Old Rustenburg Road, Hartbeespoort
Route Type Circular
Website http://www.omdiedamultra.co.za/
Contact Details info@omdiedamultra.co.za
Distance Options 50\21
Online Entries Sold Out
Pre-entries Close N/A
Title Sponsor Your Company Name Could Be Here!
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 350
Extras? Shirt (first 1,000 entrants); Goodie bag; Vouchers; Free race# delivery
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 3742
Race Description The biggest 50km race in the world (3rd largest South African ultra) that takes you on one long lap around the Hartbeespoort Dam. The route has been reversed from previous years so the toughest climb, Saartjies Nek, comes early on. Although this is a tough route with continual undulations, the hardest part of the race is getting to the start on time as race day traffic can be a nightmare. A reduced field size and the completion of roadworks should hopefully alleviate the traffic issue in 2019.
Why Run It? One of South Africa’s big four ultras. 50km of hard road around Hartbeespoort Dam are just what your legs need to prepare for Comrades.
How To Get There? 80km (1h). Reduced events and entry numbers should make traffic better this year but in the past you had to leave by 3:30am to make the 6am start.
Accommodation Options https://kormorant.co.za/hartbeespoort-holiday/ and guesthouses listed on race site.
What Else To Do There? Plenty to do in and around the dam – see www.goharties.co.za and  https://kormorant.co.za/hartbeespoort-holiday/ for details.
Race Flyer Race brochure will be uploaded here once available

Detailed ReportOm Die Dam: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Deloitte Challenge Marathon

Which way to the beach? (Photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 17 March 2019
Start Venue Ballito – Sibaya Casino
Route Type Point-to-point
Website https://www2.deloitte.com/za/en/pages/about-deloitte/topics/deloitte-challenge-kzn.html
Contact Details deloittechallenge@deloitte.co.za; barry@theroc.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=4356
Pre-entries Close 06 March 2019
Title Sponsor Deloitte
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 280
Extras? Shirt (first 7,000 entrants); Goodie Bag
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 2404
Race Description In just five years the Deloitte Challenge has become one of the most popular events on the Kwazulu Natal calendar (only Maritzburg City, Mandela Day and Comrades have more participants). This is a stunning point-to-point race from Ballito to Durban. Enjoy great north coast beach views on a fast course whilst the gentle sea breeze counteracts the Durban heat and humidity.
Why Run It? “Fast and beautiful” is a combination you’ll seldom find on South African marathon route descriptions – get to enjoy the best of both worlds at the Deloitte Challenge (and also check out the Knysna Head option below).
How To Get There? 600km (6h30) drive or fly to King Shaka and 20km (20m) drive.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B & Hotel options
What Else To Do There? Relax on the north coast beaches or check out the many Durban tourist options.
Race Flyer Deloitte Challenge A5 flyer V4

Knysna Heads Marathon

Heading to the Heads (photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 17 March 2019
Start Venue Thesen Island
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://knysnamarathonclub.com/knysna-heads-marathon/
Contact Details gavbez@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://www.knysnamarathonclubportal.co.za/heads
Pre-entries Close 14 March 2019
Title Sponsor Remax Coastal
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 65
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes (R85 for late entries)
# of 2018 Finishers 107
Race Description From the race website, “The route has been carefully chosen to allow you to enjoy your qualifier and set you up for a good time as the highest point is only 30 m above sea level.  Fast and scenic does not always go together but here it does.  Take a tour of Knysna that hugs the water for all but 2.4 km of the entire route.”
Why Run It? The Garden Route is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world to run a marathon – and at R65 this is by far the cheapest marathon in the country.
How To Get There? 1,250km (12h) drive or 2h flight to George (R1,000 – R3,000 return) and 70km (1h) drive.
Accommodation Options Recommended by the organiser: www.remaxcoastal.co.za or Turbine Hotel https://www.turbinehotel.co.za/.
What Else To Do There? Knysna is a fabulous holiday destination that has won South African town of the year on several occasions. Check out http://www.visitknysna.co.za/ for the vast variety of options.
Race Flyer  

Goldi Standerton Marathon

Stockpile on chicken during the Goldi Standerton Marathon – or if you prefer your birds in the bush, the area has some of the best birdwatching in the country.
Race Date Thursday 21 March 2019
Start Venue Standerton High School
Route Type Out-and-back
Website http://www.standertonmarathonclub.co.za/
Contact Details normadaniel@mweb.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://www.quicket.co.za/events/65652-standerton-goldi-4-in-1-race/#/
Pre-entries Close 17 March 2019
Title Sponsor Goldi
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 120
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 292
Race Description Celebrate your right to run a marathon on Human Rights Day in Standerton. This is your typical small mining/agricultural town marathon with energetic support tables lining the out-and-back route. It’s a fairly easy route along the R50 towards Leandra. In the past the R50 was a like a cross-country course in places – and your biggest risk was disappearing down a pothole – however, the road has recently been repaired so this year’s runners can enjoy a smooth run. For those that aren’t chasing a fast time, enjoy the thousands of cosmos flowers that are blooming at this time of the year.
Why Run It? Enjoy the novelty of running a mid-week marathon while exercising your Human Rights.
How To Get There? 160km (2h) south east.
Accommodation Options Listed on http://www.standertonmarathonclub.co.za/
What Else To Do There? Stockpile on chicken at the Goldi Factory Shop – or if you prefer your birds in the bush, the area has some of the best birdwatching in the country.
Race Flyer Goldi2019a Goldi2019b

Great East Marathon

Note: No details available for this race. Race organiser uncontactable. Anyone with more details – please let me know.

Race Date Saturday 23 March 2019
Start Venue Great East Sports Club
Route Type ?
Website ?
Contact Details tablets@mpg.gov.za; khumalomusa88@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries ?
Pre-entries Close ?
Title Sponsor ?
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee ?
Extras? ?
Late Entries? ?
# of 2018 Finishers N/A
Race Description ?
Why Run It? ?
How To Get There? 400km (4h30) drive east on the N4 passed Mbombela.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? ?
Race Flyer

Langebaan Country Estate Weskus Marathon

Water, water everywhere – but you’ll have to wait until the Langebaan Country Estate table at the 36km to enjoy a beer (photo supplied).
Race Date Saturday 23 March 2019
Start Venue Langebaan Country Estate
Route Type Point-to-point
Website https://www.weskusmarathon.co.za/
Contact Details weskusmarathon@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://online.entries.co.za/entries/findperson.aspx?pa=se&eid=4504
Pre-entries Close 18 March 2019
Title Sponsor Langebaan Country Estate
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 190
Extras? Free bus ride to the start
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 915
Race Description This is a stunner of a race run entirely through the West Coast National Park. You start on the beach to the crashing sounds of the Atlantic Ocean and head up and down the fynbos covered sand dunes whilst the tranquil turquoise waters of the Langebaan Lagoon (the largest of its kind in the world) keeps you company. Those worried about twisting an ankle (or getting their shoes dirty) need not fear, only the initial 2km are on (smooth) dirt road and the remainder on tar. As an added bonus the route is entirely traffic free, so you can really appreciate your surroundings. Watch out for Langebaan Country Estate beer table at the 36km mark – which acts a warm-up for the carnival-like atmosphere at the finish.
Why Run It? As South Africans we are really fortunate to be able to run marathons in our national parks: Make sure you take advantage of one of the best marathons in the country through the beautiful and unique backdrop of the West Coast National Park.
How To Get There? 2h flight to Cape Town and 150km (1h30) drive from the airport to Langebaan.
Accommodation Options Stay with the sponsor, Langebaan Country Estate (www.LCE.co.za), Club Mykonos (www.clubmykonos.co.za) or check out a wide variety of options at www.visitwestcoast.co.za.
What Else To Do There? Explore the natural beauty of the West Coast National Park, test your water sport skills on the lagoon or simply relax on one the beaches. Langebaan is the mid-point of the West Coast and there are many activities, attractions and quaint towns to explore like Saldanha Bay, St. Helena Bay, Velddrif, the fossil park, Evita se Perron in Darling or a trip further up the coast to Elands or Lamberts Bay.
Race Flyer LCE Weskus Marathon 2019 Entry Form

Umgeni Water Marathon

What you can expect on the new Umgeni Marathon route (photos supplied).
Race Date Sunday 24 March 2019
Start Venue Baynesfield Recreational Club, Baynesfield (outside Pietermaritzburg)
Route Type Double-lapper
Website http://www.collegiansharriers.co.za/umgeni.htm
Contact Details collegians.harriers@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\14
Online Entries https://www.webtickets.co.za/Event.aspx?itemid=1487589663
Pre-entries Close 17 March 2019
Title Sponsor Umgeni Water
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 240
Extras? Shirt
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 281
Race Description This year the race has switched dams (from Midmar to Baynesfield) but promises an even more beautiful route. The marathon is now a double-lapper through the Baynesfield Estate and surrounding forests.
Why Run It? Replace the traffic, congestion and carbon monoxide of other locales with the thick Midlands air on a traffic-free marathon.
How To Get There? 550km (5h30) drive down the N3 or fly to King Shaka and 115km (1h30) drive.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Plenty to do in Pietermaritzburg – check out http://www.pmbtourism.co.za/ or spend some time in the magnificent Midlands. https://midlandsmeander.co.za/
Race Flyer UmgeniFlyer

Detailed ReportUmgeni Water Marathon (One Dam Marathon After Another)

African Wildlife Artistry Bruintjieshoogte 50k

Enjoying the beautiful Boschberg mountains on the climb to Bruintjieshoogte.
Race Date Saturday 30 March 2019
Start Venue Gill Primary School, Somerset East
Route Type Out-and-back
Website
Contact Details henrico.marais@gmail.com; ronette@gbggroup.co.za, bruintjieshoogte@gmail.com
Distance Options 50\25\15\5
Online Entries
Pre-entries Close 27 March 2019
Title Sponsor African Wildlife Artistry
Perm, Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 170
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 204
Race Description A 25km climb out of Somerset East to the top of the Bruintjieshoogte and then back again is the recipe for another great South African 50km ultra. The oldest ultra in the Eastern Cape is a hidden gem on the race calendar and one I would recommend all runners add to their running CV. Top tip: Take some time to unwind afterwards in the awesome Addo Elephant National Park – and practice your game spotting skills along the route keeping a lookout for kudu, gemsbok and the magestic sable.
Why Run It? A quality 50km race surrounded by the beautiful Eastern Cape landscape. One of the real hidden gems on the race calendar. A race all runners should make the effort to run at least once.
How To Get There? 1,050km (11h) drive or a 1h30 flight (approx R1,500) and 200km (2h) drive to Somerset East.
Accommodation Options Gill Primary Hostel:  Tel: 042 243 2997/084 556 1249
Bellevue Hostel – Eddy Sims 082 333 7630
Various guest houses: www.somerset-east.co.za/listings/accommodation
What Else To Do There? The Walter Battiss Art Museum, Fly Fishing, Mountain Biking, Horse Riding, Hunting. Visit www.somerset-east.co.za for more info.
Race Flyer BRUINTJIESHOOGTE MARATHON 2019 ENTRY FORM

Detailed ReportMarathon Addict? Guilty As Charged! (My 100th Unique Marathon At Bruintjieshoogte)

Mall of the North Marathon

Acacia Thorn trees are distinctive in the Limpopo bushveld and line the route.

Note: Details of this race are still being finalised. I’ll update information once received from race organiser.

Race Date Saturday 30 March 2019
Start Venue Mall of the North
Route Type Out-and-back
Website www.polokwaneathleticclub.co.za
Contact Details pretpieter@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10\5
Online Entries https://www.entrytime.com/event-details/?EventId=5959
Pre-entries Close 20-Mar
Title Sponsor Mall of the North
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R240
Extras? Shirt (online entries only)
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 415
Race Description Polokwane races are normally hot and not particularly interesting. However, this race bucks the trend and is the best I’ve done in Limpopo’s largest city. An out and back route that takes you almost immediately from the mall parking lot into pristine African savannah and keeps you there for over 40km.
Why Run It? A marathon through pristine African savannah.
How To Get There? 325km (3h) drive due north on the N1.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? http://polokwanetourism.co.za/
Race Flyer  

Detailed ReportMall Of The North Marathon (The Pick of Polokwane)

Gert Sibande Marathon

Race Date Saturday 30 March 2019
Start Venue Gert Sibande District Office, Ermelo
Route Type Out-and-back
Website
Contact Details melodydutoit28@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries
Pre-entries Close
Title Sponsor Gert Sibande District Municipality
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 60
Extras?
Late Entries? Yes
# of 2018 Finishers 218
Race Description Your stock, standard small town marathon through the Mpumalanga agricultural and mining town (and surrounding countryside) of Ermelo.
Why Run It? At R60, this is the cheapest marathon in the country.
How To Get There? 210km (2h15) drive east on the N17.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Check out the coal mines before they all disappear.
Race Flyer

Real Gijimas Ultra

Runners enjoying the inaugural Real Gijimas 50k through the rural Eastern Cape (photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 31 March 2019
Start Venue Zwelitsha – Sisa Dukashe Stadium
Route Type Point-to-point
Website
Contact Details kambulealex@gmail.com
Distance Options 50
Online Entries https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1487728554
Pre-entries Close 26 March 2019
Title Sponsor Your Company Name Could Be Here!
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 150
Extras?
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 260
Race Description The Real Gijimas club was formed in Mdantsane township as a sporting outlet during the political turmoil of the 1980s. As such they are the oldest township running club in the country and organise an impressive array of races – including the Bridle Drift Half Marathon (the toughest of it’s kind in the province). The inaugural 50k ultra was held in 2018. The race starts in the township of Zwelitsha, passes through the rural Eastern Cape countryside and villages and finishes in the township of Mdantsane (the second largest in the country) – it promises to become a highlight on  the running calendar.
Why Run It? I’ll find out this year.
How To Get There? 1,000km (10h) drive or 1h30 flight to East London (R1,000 – R2,000 return) and 50km (45m) drive.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Explore the local beaches – good for swimming, surfing, fishing or just relaxing; Some excellent private game reserves are close-by to see Africa’s big game by land as well as whales and sharks by boat. Check out https://www.eastlondon.org.za/tourism.html  for more.
Race Flyer Real Gijimas Ultra 50km ENTRY FORM

Jackie Gibson Marathon

The expression says it all. A runner from the Benoni flatlands battles up AFH at the oldest standard marathon in the country (photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 31 March 2019
Start Venue Klipriviersberg Recreation
Route Type Double-lapper
Website https://www.facebook.com/JackieGibsonMarathon/
Contact Details jhac@mweb.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=4401
Pre-entries Close 20 March 2019
Title Sponsor Your Company Name Could Be Here!
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 220
Extras? Shirt (first 1,000 online entrants)
Late Entries? No
# of 2018 Finishers 1376
Race Description Turning 74 this year, Jackie Gibson is Johannesburg’s oldest race – and the oldest standard marathon in the country. A tough double-lapper that has so many hills that no one has bothered to name them. A great Comrades training run and an experience that epitomises what marathon running is all about – a gritty race, organised by people who love the sport, that gives your legs (and your mind) a great workout. Highly recommended for Gauteng runners.
Note: The event is pre-entry only this year.
Why Run It? If you want to run a quality CGA marathon as part of your Comrades prep, this is the one to do.
How To Get There? The start is 15km south of central Joburg with many access points.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? People watching in the Joburg south is always interesting and provides rich material for social media.
Race Flyer

Detailed Report: Jackie Gibson Marathon (Where The Hills Have No Name)

Tronox Marathon

A great day out with the family (photo supplied).
Race Date Sunday 31 March 2019
Start Venue Addison Park Empangeni
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://www.umhlathuze-ac.co.za/crocs-rock/uac-race-events/5-tronox-marathon-2019
Contact Details info@umhlathuze-ac.co.za; roys@bell.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://www.msem.co.za/
Pre-entries Close 24 March 2019
Title Sponsor Tronox
Perm, Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 220
Extras? Shirt (first 200 entries)
Late Entries? Yes (Late entries until 30 Mar; no line entries)
# of 2018 Finishers 132
Race Description By popular demand, the race is back to the traditional out-and-back route through the sugar cane fields. The scenic route combines tar and off-road running over a course that will test your endurance. Northern Natal can be very hot, but the refreshment tables are always well stocked with ice-cold Coke and water. Marathon runners are ensured a balanced diet over the route with barrels of bananas (which grow like weeds in this part of the world) as well as potatoes and oranges.
Why Run It? For the bipodal (who enjoy a bit of running in the rough), you get the best of both tar and trail on this course.
How To Get There? 600km (7h) drive or fly to Durban and 150km (1h30) drive from King Shaka along the N2.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Take a short drive to Richard’s Bay to go whale watching or explore one of the many game reserves and national heritage sites (like St. Lucia and Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Park) that are all within an hour’s drive.
Race Flyer

 

READ MORE: The Running Mann’s Guide to January Marathons

READ MORE: The Running Mann’s Guide to February Marathons

Notes

  • I will update this page as additional information becomes available/is provided.
  • If you have anything to add (or correct) please drop me a note.
  • I’m happy to answer any questions – feel free to contact me on social media @runningmann100
  • I plan to add route profiles and maps in future versions but don’t have time to chase these down at present.
  • Marathon/ultra race organisers: I will be in contact to get information for future events but feel free to jump the gun and contact me directly.

See you on the road!

#RunSouthAfrica

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