The Running Mann’s Guide to April 2022 Marathons

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

After a busy March, marathons are scarce in April with just six options (four marathons and two ultras), but there are some quality choices on the list.

The big one in April is the return of the Two Oceans Marathon with a brand new sponsor (Total Sports). This is my personal favourite ultra and I can’t wait to complete another voyage around the Cape Peninsula. Your other ultra marathon option is the Irene 48k which has a changed route and is a triple-lapper this year.

Your only flat marathon is the Durban City Marathon. The other three options offer plenty of hills, undulations and beauty.

If you’re not running Two Oceans, the Great East Marathon is run on Easter Saturday. Although there is no race flyer yet, the organisers assure me that the race is going ahead. I ran the inaugural event in 2019 – it’s a tough circular route packed full of rural beauty and charm on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park.

The Assegaai Marathon is held the weekend after Easter and has some of the best support tables you’ll ever experience. The “out” first half concludes with a plummet to the Assegaai River. This means that the Assegaai immediately stabs you in the back with a vicious climb to start the second half. Local legend has it that if you drink from the Assegaai River, it will forever be in your blood. Local common sense has it that if you drink from the Assegaai River, you will have a severe case of explosive diarrhoea.

The month is rounded off with a definite bucket list race, the Outeniqua Marathon. This is a point-to-point route from George to Wilderness in the Garden Route. It’s a stunningly beautiful course with plenty of off-road running through indigenous forest and full of water features (including pristine coastline, lakes, lagoons, dams and rivers).

For those wondering, Loskop and the Executive Mayor’s race in Polokwane are cancelled in 2022. There is no info on the Gert Sibande Marathon (scheduled for 2 April) and no response from the organisers so I am not sure whether it is cancelled or postponed.

A summary of your choices is below:

Click to expand.

Note to the reader: The objective of these monthly articles is to provide a definitive resource for the discerning marathon runner when picking their qualifiers and planning running holidays. Let me know if anything is missing or if you have anything to add!

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!

Irene Ultra 48k

Race Date Sunday 10 April 2022
Start Venue ARC Campus Irene
Route Type Triple-lapper
Website https://www.ireneultra.co.za
Contact Details info@irenerunner.co.za
Distance Options 48\21\5
Online Entries https://www.entryninja.com/events/77552-irene-running-festival
Pre-entries Close 03 April 2022
Title Sponsor None
Perm Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 350
Extras?
Late Entries? No
# of 2019/20 Finishers 3467
Race Description This is one of only two ultras in Gauteng. The race starts and finishes in the local agricultural grounds with the meat of the race run through the Irene and Midstream suburbs. The route has changed to a 3 x 16 km lapper to ensure the safety of the runners. There are plenty of long, straight stretches.
Why Run It? In just four years, this race became the third largest ultra marathon in the country. It’s a low fuss, hassle-free Gauteng ultra that brands itself as “#THEQualifier for Comrades”.
Note: Comrades qualifying time is 05:50, the same as for 50 km but with 2 km less to run.
How To Get There? The start is 50km (45mins) north of central Joburg with many access points but allow for race day traffic.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Spend the day relaxing on Irene Farm (and depending on how fast you run you can enjoy a lovely breakfast or lunch on the tranquil grounds). After watching the cows on the farm you can see usually the Bulls in action later that afternoon at Loftus.
Race Flyer Irene Running Festival (3)
Profile

Durban City Marathon

Photo from Facebook page.
Race Date Sunday 10 April 2022
Start Venue Kings Park Athletic Stadium
Route Type Double-lapper
Website https://www.durbancitymarathon.co.za/
Contact Details admin@kznathletics.co.za; celi@lantic.net
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1499185959
Pre-entries Close 01 April 2022
Title Sponsor None
Perm Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 250
Extras? Shirt
Late Entries? Yes (No race day entries)
# of 2019/20 Finishers 1379
Race Description A flat two lap tour of Durban incorporating the city centre, promenade, harbour and point area.
Why Run It? One of the few AIMS certified marathons in the country.
How To Get There? 600km (6h) drive or 1h flight to Durban and 35km drive from King Shaka Airport.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Plenty of tourist options in and around Durban: http://visitdurban.travel/
Race Flyer
Profile

Great East Marathon

Detailed Race Report: Great East Marathon (The Kruger Park run)

Note: The organiser has confirmed that the race is going ahead. I will update details once I have received them,

Race Date Saturday 16 April 2022
Start Venue Great East Sports Club
Route Type Circular
Website ?
Contact Details tablets@mpg.gov.za; khumalomusa88@gmail.com
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries ?
Pre-entries Close ?
Title Sponsor None
Perm Numbers? No
Entry Fee ?
Extras? ?
Late Entries? ?
# of 2019/20 Finishers 18
Race Description I ran the inaugural event in 2019 when there were just 18 finishers and really enjoyed it. There are no major hills but there are constant undulations making this quite a difficult route (total elevation is 723m). The scenery is spectacular over this circular route in rural Mpumalanga on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park.
Why Run It? If you don’t feel like running a big field ultra over Easter, get back to basics and run a small field marathon through rural Mpumalanga.
How To Get There? 400km (4h30) drive east on the N4 past Mbombela.
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options (Hazyview is the closest town)
What Else To Do There? You’re just a kudu’s jump from the Kruger National Park so go an see some animals after the race.
Race Flyer
Profile

No major hills but plenty of undulations on this challenging, circular course.

Total Sports Two Oceans 56k

Detailed Race Report: Two Oceans (A Love Letter To My Favourite Ultra)

Race Date Sunday 17 April 2022
Start Venue Main Road Newlands, Cape Town
Route Type Circular
Website https://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/events/ultra-marathon/
Contact Details info@twooceansmarathon.org.za (and follow updates on website and social media)
Distance Options 56\21
Online Entries https://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/events/ultra-marathon/
Pre-entries Close When capacity is reached
Title Sponsor Total Sports
Perm Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 700
Extras? Shirt; Goodie Bag
Late Entries? No
# of 2019/20 Finishers 12100
Race Description The second largest ultra in the world and my own personal favourite (I’m looking forward to my 18th voyage in 2022). After a flat first half through Cape Town’s southern suburbs and alongside the Indian Ocean, you get to climb one of the most beautiful passes in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive. A drop into Hout Bay gets you to the marathon mark and this is followed by 4km of extreme nastiness called Constantia Nek. The last 10km are mainly downhill with a few bumps along the way until you reach the best finish straight in the country at the University of Cape Town.
Why Run It? The best way to spend your Easter weekend!
Pre-Covid, this was Africa’s biggest running event with six events drawing 100,000 visitors to the Western Cape including 3,000 international runners from over 80 countries. The highlight being the ultra – 56 magnificent kilometres around the Cape Peninsula.
For runners who’d like to Run for a Cause, get your entry from one of the 50 TOM 2020 charitable organisations and support any of the worthy programmes and initiatives in the areas of health, education, the environment and athletics development.
How To Get There? Fly to Cape Town; 20km drive from the airport to Newlands.
Accommodation Options Book your accommodation at any of the Tsogo Sun Hotels, the official travel partner, in Cape Town and surrounds.
What Else To Do There? As one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and the leading events and festivals city in the world, Cape Town has much to offer both locals and international visitors during the Two Oceans Marathon race week. Check out https://myciti.org.za/en/home/ for options.
Race Flyer
Profile

If you play it fast and loose over the first half of your date with Two Oceans, you’ll get to see her nasty side during the second.

TWK Assegaai Marathon

Detailed Race Report: Assegaai Marathon (Can You Judge A Marathon By The Shirt?)

Race Date Saturday 23 April 2022
Start Venue Piet Retief Rugby Club
Route Type Out-and-back
Website https://www.facebook.com/AssegaaiMC/  or @assegaaimarathonclub on Instagram
Contact Details anne@loveshotsphotos.co.za
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://www.entryninja.com/events/77519-twk-assegaai-3-in-1-marathon
Pre-entries Close ?
Title Sponsor TWK
Perm Numbers? No
Entry Fee R 170
Extras? Shirt (first 100 online entries)
Late Entries? Yes (R30 extra for late entries)
# of 2019/20 Finishers 182
Race Description An excellent race close to the Swaziland border. The route is really simple – you run all the way to the Assegaai River and then you turn around and run back again. The first 8km provides a gentle climb and then you have a long gentle decline before a final plummet to the river. This means that the Assegaai stabs you in the back with lots of climbing over the second half. Local legend has it that if you drink from the Assegaai river, it will forever be in your blood. Local common sense has it that if you drink from the Assegaai river, you will have a severe case of explosive diarrhoea. The motto of the organising club is “Laat waai, Assegaai,” which translates as “Let loose, Assegaai.” – one glass of unfiltered river water and you’ll definitely be letting loose all over the place!
Why Run It? The race entry is worth is just to experience the Charka support table – undoubtedly the best table I’ve ever had the pleasure of frequenting. Tables are every 2km along the route and compete for prestigious annual trophies.
How To Get There? 330km (4h) drive along the N17 and N2.
Accommodation Options www.booking.com offers quite a number of reputable Piet Retief guest houses travelling runners can book for the weekend.
What Else To Do There? http://www.mpumalanga.com/plan-your-trip/information-offices/grass-wetlands/piet-retief
Race Flyer
Profile

Double D Route Profile

Outeniqua Marathon

Detailed Race Report: Outeniqua Marathon (The One I Almost Missed)

Race Date Saturday 30 April 2022
Start Venue George Sports Club – George
Route Type Point-to-point
Website https://www.facebook.com/groups/162468160447018/
Contact Details 0
Distance Options 42\21\10
Online Entries https://entrytickets.net/outeniqua
Pre-entries Close 26 April 2022
Title Sponsor Grasshoppers
Perm Numbers? Yes (10th finish)
Entry Fee R 170
Extras? Bus ticket
Late Entries? Yes (R20 extra for late entries; No race day entries)
# of 2019/20 Finishers 177
Race Description If this is not on your bucket list add it now. A superb small field marathon in the heart of the Garden Route. The route combines trail, tar and dirt road as you navigate the ancient roads cut into the Tsitsikamma forest between George and Wilderness. Expect hills, dams, lakes, lagoons, stunning sea views and indigenous forests.
Why Run It? A beautiful marathon through indigenous Garden Route forest.
How To Get There? 1,200km (12h) drive or 2h flight to George (R1,000 – R3,000 return).
Accommodation Options Check out Google for B&B and hotel options
What Else To Do There? Wilderness is a brilliant family holiday destination, check out https://www.wilderness-info.co.za/town or take a holiday in any of the nearby Garden Route towns.
Race Flyer
Profile

Cancelled Marathons

  • Gert Sibande Marathon
  • Polokwane Executive Mayors Marathon
  • Loskop 50k

For the most up to date marathon information check out: https://www.roadrunning.co.za/ 

 

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