[MARATHON #252 / UNIQUE MARATHON #149 / 7 October 2023]
I had not run a marathon for over 16 months courtesy of sloth and a boring neural issue in my knee. Having received a complimentary entry to Cape Town Marathon, I’ve spent the last few months getting marathon fit (or as close as possible to it) again. Then came the inconvenient realisation that my daughter’s birthday was the day before Cape Town Marathon.
I have a newfound respect for government negotiators and their dealings with the trade unions. After a short but intense round of negotiations, I realised that there would be no compromise. Either I flew my daughter and her friends to Cape Town (and convinced the body corporate at my mom’s retirement village in Noordhoek to host her birthday party) or I would have to find another plan.
Another plan was found. The plan involved a 500-kilometre drive to the northern extremities of the Limpopo Province and was one week earlier (meaning one week less to train) but it would have to do. Luckily, a few old running compatriots had the same plan and I was able to tag along with Julian Karp, Don Rukando and Farai Razano (names listed in order of marathons completed – 915, 161 and 101 respectively) on their marathon adventures to the Shikhumba* Marathon.
I have completed 31 international marathons amongst my current total collection of 251. The vast majority of these were front loaded into my running career when I was fortunate enough to do a substantial amount of business travel and managed to work in a marathon or two around the actual work.
The first was Prague when a week of work conveniently coincided with the weekend of the Prague Marathon – a city full of beautiful Gothic architecture and Bohemian culture but for me the biggest significance was that this was the city where Pilsner was invented. Thirsty marathon runners will also be pleased to note that beer prices in Prague are roughly equivalent to those in South Africa.
Superb performances, national records, PBs and finally a medal – all that was missing from the World Athletics Road Running Championship in Riga was the South African flag.
If anyone was wondering about the missing flag, it was banned from display because South Africa is no longer WADA compliant. From what I understand, every country in the world except South Africa and Bermuda have managed to update their doping legislation to be compliant. Whether this is another failure of our Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, tardiness from SAIDS, some of the “lazy blazers” within sports administration being asleep at the wheel or a combination of all three is unclear.
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s November and December 2023 marathons and ultras including race descriptions and recommendations. You can find the full 2023 marathon / ultra calendar here.