[MARATHON #175 / UNIQUE MARATHON #92 / 3 February 2018]
The 2018 running year has started really well with two fantastic marathons (Finlime and Volksrust). The first weekend of February seemed like the logical time to escalate to an ultra. This required a flight to the east coast for Port Elizabeth’s Bay Ultra Marathon – 50km around Algoa Bay.
I was surprised that most of the budget airlines don’t fly into Port Elizabeth – and those that do don’t offer good “in-and-out for a marathon” flight times. Therefore, I had to settle for a premium priced airline offering budget rate service. Nothing signifies the decline of the British Empire quite like the experience of flying British Airways. Continue reading “Bay Ultra (See the Lighthouse at the End of an Ultra)”
[MARATHON #174 / UNIQUE MARATHON #91 / 27 January 2018]
The first marathon you run after Comrades always seems really easy (“just a marathon” / “almost short distance”). Similarly, after enduring a 7-hour drive into the sweltering Kalahari for the Finlime Marathon last week, getting to Volksrust – an easy 3-hour drive from Johannesburg – was an absolute doddle.
Volksrust was founded in 1889 – “Volk” means nation and “Rust” means rest. There is no truth in the rumour that the town was founded by a disgruntled car owner and was originally called Volkswagensrust.
[MARATHON #173 / UNIQUE MARATHON #90 / 20 January 2018]
Pretty much everything shuts down in South Africa over the December / January school holiday period. Unfortunately, marathon running is no different: there is a total Sub-Saharan marathon shutdown between 16 December and 20 January.
Some people spend forty days fasting in the desert – so I thought it was appropriate to break my 40-day marathon drought with a run in the desert! The location was Lime Acres – a small town of about 4,500 people in the middle of the “green” Kalahari desert.
[MARATHON #153 / UNIQUE MARATHON #75 / 4 March 2017]
Many runners spend hours doing speed, track and hill work in the hope of getting faster and securing an elusive podium finish. I recently found out that this time could be better spent searching for the right race: It’s not how fast you run, it’s the races you pick!
The best way to get really stiff legs after a marathon is a long car drive – and the 7-hour drive from Port Elizabeth ensured that rigor mortis engulfed the lower half of my body by the time we reached Mthatha. Not ideal with the prospect of one of the toughest marathons in the country ahead… but at least the drive provided stunning views for this first time visitor to the Transkei.
[MARATHON #170 / UNIQUE MARATHON #87 / 2 December 2017]
My current running goal is to complete 100 unique marathons. It’s a great way to stay motivated – annual double-lappersaround Benoni are enough to destroy the spirit of even the most enthusiastic runner (there’s been nothing glamorous to look at in Benoni since Charlize Theron left for Hollywood)!
Running different marathons is also a great way to explore our beautiful country. With this in mind, I agreed to see off 2017 with a bang and do something I said I would never do – run back to back marathons.
[MARATHON #169 / UNIQUE MARATHON #86 / 26 November 2017]
My wife has a good friend in Rustenburg that we don’t see often enough. During a WhatsApp chat bemoaning this fact, said friend wished that there was a marathon in Rustenburg so that we would visit. Like the plot of a Disney movie, her wish came true shortly thereafter when the inaugural Platinum Belt Marathon was announced . Every Disney movie needs a Prince Charming – so naturally I assumed this role by immediately registering for the marathon.
[MARATHON #168 / 11th Soweto Marathon / 4 Nov 2017]
The annual trek to Soweto Marathon did not get off to a good start… The Saturday morning race number pickup was frustrated by terrible traffic on the M1 (down to one lane for barrier repairs) and when I finally got to registration it was with a flat tyre and two moaning kids.
Things you need to bring to race registration:
Printed confirmation of entry
Things you don’t want to bring to race registration:
Things you want to avoid bringing to race registration at all costs:
[MARATHON #167 / UNIQUE MARATHON #85 / 7 OCTOBER 2017]
In my opinion, the best way to get a good night’s sleep on a long-haul transatlantic flight is to run a marathon: A marathon (combined with a few “nightcap” beers) is the perfect recipe for a blissful flight!
The first challenge was a logistical one – find a marathon close enough to my hotel in central London to get there, run, get back, shower and make my flight (plus have enough time to rehydrate with a beer or two before boarding).