The Running Mann’s Guide to March 2022 Marathons

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

Road running is back in full swing in March with 16 Marathons and 3 ultras spread across 4 weekends. Having run every one of these options I can tell you there are some stunners on the schedule. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to March 2022 Marathons”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to February 2022 Marathons

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

The road running calendar is starting to normalise again with a dozen marathons spread all around the country. It’s great to see some old favourites along with some new comers.  Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to February 2022 Marathons”

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10 Great Small South African Ultras

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South Africa is famous for having the biggest and best ultra marathons on the planet: There are less than ten ultra marathons worldwide with more than 1,000 finishers and over half of them are in South Africa.

However, we’ve also got some brilliant small field ultras that are worth working into your running plans. For those that like the personal touch, here’s a list of ten awesome low-key ultras that will be happy to take your money, show you a good time and will still respect you in the morning. With the prospect of a relatively normal year ahead (let’s hope!) why not plan an ultra running road trip or two? Continue reading “10 Great Small South African Ultras”

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Amsterdam Marathon (Hookers, drugs & cyclists)

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It was a Wednesday afternoon when I heard that my presence in Amsterdam was requested for the following Monday. Last-minute travel is always a panicked affair, but I still tried to see if I could find a marathon to run. As luck would have it, the Amsterdam Marathon was on the weekend I was in town, but as luck wouldn’t have it, they had closed their entries several weeks beforehand.

Undeterred I sent an imploring email to the contacts listed on the website, politely requesting a last-minute entry. As this is a ‘big city’ race with thousands of competitors, my expectation for a positive response (or any response at all) was not high. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise when I received a reply just over an hour later, stating that if I was willing to part with 69 Euros, then a marathon entry was mine.

Big City Race Vibes
A relaxed 10:30am start in the 1928 Olympic Stadium.

Continue reading “Amsterdam Marathon (Hookers, drugs & cyclists)”

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Leeuwarden Marathon (Dutch with a difference)

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A year after the Dutch summer sun beat me up, I was back in Amsterdam to speak at a conference. To satisfy my insatiable hunger for marathons, I was faced with a repeat visit to Leiden or a 150km drive to the extreme north of the Netherlands. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me… so the saying goes. I wasn’t going to chance another midday massacre in the middle of summer and therefore decided to head north to Leeuwarden, with just over 100,000 residents the largest city in the province of Friesland.

It is often very entertaining to read the English section of foreign marathon websites, which tend to be full of unintentionally funny translations. The Leeuwarden Marathon avoided this problem by having no English section. Google translate had not yet been invented, so this tested the limits of my rudimentary Afrikaans taal skills, as I had to translate what appeared to be Dutch text.

I managed to figure out the important details – like the race date and start time – and also that this was a pre-entry only race, and I had missed the deadline. I wrote a passionate, imploring letter to the organisers in my best Afrikaans to plead for a late entry, and a reply came back a short while later in English to say they would accommodate my petition.

The organisers were able to translate my kitchen Afrikaans so I was able to make it to the start.

Continue reading “Leeuwarden Marathon (Dutch with a difference)”

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Leiden Marathon (Getting baked in a Dutch oven)

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If you ever want to run at marathon in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of summer in the middle of a heat wave, then the Leiden Marathon in South Holland is the one to do. European summers can be something of an oxymoron, but the organisers managed to time the 2006 edition of the race to be run in the middle of a genuine heat wave. Fifteen years later and I can still vividly remember the four-and-a-bit hours I spent slogging it out in the sweltering mid-30s, and this is still the hottest of the 241 marathons I’ve run (to date), even beating out the Two Countries Marathon in Musina for the honour!

Surviving the heat in Holland.

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Kaapsehoop Marathon (The Sub-3 Quest)

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[Marathon #78 / 8 November 2008]

Anyone who has ever had the (mis)fortune of running with me for any period of time will know that my primary running goal has always been to run a sub-3 hour marathon on an unassisted course. With my biological clock ticking away – the baby is due on 1 January, which I understand will result in some drastic lifestyle changes – there was a certain sense of urgency in achieving this goal before the year was out.

Picking a fast marathon towards the end of the year is quite challenging, as most of the “easy courses” are packed into the first four months of the year to entice Two Oceans and Comrades participants to use them as seeding qualifiers. Although there are some great marathons in the second half of the year, there are very few that scream out “PB,” so I would really have preferred to find an unassisted, circular course, but it turned out that the only option was a point-to-point downhill flyer in the form of the Kaapsehoop Marathon.

Continue reading “Kaapsehoop Marathon (The Sub-3 Quest)”

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(The runt of the litter at) The Wolfpack Warriors Marathon

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[MARATHON #242 / Unique Marathon #142 / 18 September 2021]

“Good. A few kilograms too good.”

That’s been my standard response this year when asked the question, “How are you doing?”

I started off lockdown well, initially running over 1,000 kilometres in my driveway but the pandemic slowly ground me down – and the lack of events steadily curtailed my weekly distance until I was running just enough to earn my free Vitality coffee each week. Continue reading “(The runt of the litter at) The Wolfpack Warriors Marathon”

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Cape Town Marathon (Give trees a chance)

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The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon recently announced that they are on the inside lane to become the first Abbott World Marathon Major in the southern hemisphere. I thought I’d take a ‘pictorial’ look back at the two Cape Town Marathons I’ve completed in 2017 and 2019, with a heavy focus on the later when I ran with a tree on my back as part of a moving forest.

Two’s company, tree’s a crowd – and any more than that’s a forest!

Continue reading “Cape Town Marathon (Give trees a chance)”

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