Prison to Prison Marathon (The Breede Valley Jailbreak)

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[Marathon #201 / Unique Marathon #112 / 8 December 2018]

In my effort to monopolise the South African running calendar, I managed one last roll of the 2018 marathon running dice in December. I was aiming to land on Breede River Valley to add a new marathon to my portfolio but, after flying down to Cape Town and completing the 90-minute drive to Worcester, I did not pass go and went directly to jail. Luckily, I had already paid for my ‘get out of jail free’ card – a simple R120 ($9/£7) transaction to register for the Prison to Prison Marathon.

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The Running Mann’s Guide to February Marathons

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

Marathon running is in full swing in February and those who still need to run a qualifier have 24 great options to choose from all around the country. Unqualified Two Oceans runners should be looking to get a marathon under the belt so that there is no pressure for the 18th of March cut-off.  Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to February Marathons”

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Josiah Gumede Marathon (Escaping Black Friday in the Drakensberg)

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[Marathon #200 / Unique Marathon #111 / 24 November 2018]

A good way to avoid the Black Friday madness that has engulfed our country over the last few years is to head into the countryside. As luck would have it, a new marathon had popped onto the calendar which provided a reliable means of escape: The Josiah Gumede Marathon (42.2 point-to-point kilometres nestled into the northern Drakensburg). Continue reading “Josiah Gumede Marathon (Escaping Black Friday in the Drakensberg)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to January Marathons

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

South African marathons go on hiatus from the beginning of December until the middle of January. As a marathon running obsessive, I normally get withdrawal symptoms during the break (symptoms include a lethargy in the legs and a noticeable swelling in the belly) so I try to get my first marathon of the year done at the earliest opportunity. The good news is that there are seven great options to choose from in January. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to January Marathons”

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Music Marathon (Running in the Dead Centre of South Africa)

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[Marathon #199 / Unique Marathon #110 / 10 November 2018]

I recently researched the most geographically extreme marathons in South Africa. This quickly led to me wondering which is the most central. It turns out that the geographic centre of South Africa is very close to Bloemfontein. I’ve seen many people use the word ‘literally’ when they mean figuratively (e.g. as in, “I’ve literally seen thousands of people using ‘literally’ incorrectly.”). However, if you were to say, “Bloemfontein is the dead centre of South Africa.” this would be true in both the literal and figurative sense of the term.

Bloemfontein is the Dead Centre of South Africa (original map from www.nationsonline.org)

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Sapphire Coast Marathon (Delayed Planes, Delayed Trains & Marathon Running)

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[Marathon #197 / Unique Marathon #109 / 28 October 2018]

The best time for a Western Province rugby supporter to run a marathon in Kwazulu Natal is the day after Western Province beat the Sharks in a Currie Cup final: When I boarded the flight to Durban at halftime things were looking promising with the good guys leading 6 – 0.

Unfortunately, the worst time for a Western Province rugby supporter to run a marathon in Kwazulu Natal is the day after Western Province lose to the Sharks in a Currie Cup final: When I turned on my phone shortly after landing, I was left with no doubt as to the result.

For most of the year the people of Durban are affable, kindhearted and gentle-natured but during rugby season they go into musth – becoming agitated and aggressive. Winning is not a habit that comes gracefully to the average Sharks* fan – and my phone battery steadily drained as a constant influx of obnoxious messages bombarded my social media accounts. Continue reading “Sapphire Coast Marathon (Delayed Planes, Delayed Trains & Marathon Running)”

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Jacaranda Marathon (Purple Rain in Pretoria)

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[Marathon #196 / Unique Marathon #108 / 13 October 2018]

Opening Chords

Once a year Pretoria turns purple as 65,000 Jacaranda trees go into bloom and herald the start of summer. The impact of the trees on South Africa’s capital city is immense. They’ve resulted in Pretoria being nicknamed “Jacaranda City” and prominent purple branding adorns everything from the regional Tshwane municipality to the local radio station (which is of course called Jacaranda FM).

The Jacaranda City Challenge is perfectly timed to capture the trees in full bloom. Prince sang about Purple Rain – but if you really want to see the phenomenon in real life you should run the Jacaranda City Marathon. Running a marathon under a constant florid canopy is quite an experience. This year an overnight thunderstorm meant that we were also treated to a luxurious carpet of petals, whilst every gust of wind brought more purple blossoms raining down.

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Imbube Marathon, Eswatini (Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only A Marathon Runner)

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[Marathon #195 / Unique Marathon #107 / 7 October 2018]

I’ve been trying to get more proactive about running marathons in neighbouring countries. One of the countries I have been scouting is the small, landlocked, mountain kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) and my investigations uncovered the Imbube Marathon. Run on the first Sunday in October, this proved the perfect opportunity to notch one more country onto the marathon list.

In Eswatini, everything revolves around the king – and the marathon is no different. The word ‘Imbube’ means ‘King’ in the local siSwati tongue and the event is personally signed off by King Mswati III himself.

Getting ready to start the King’s marathon.

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Two Countries Marathon (Musina in Action)

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[MARATHON #194 / UNIQUE MARATHON #106 / 22 September 2018]

There are marathons that are tough to get to and marathons that are tough to run. The Two Countries Marathons is both. The race starts 10km inside Zimbabwe near Beitbridge Town and ends back across the South African border in the sweltering furnace that is Musina.

Pay no heed to what they say about kitchens, if you can’t take the heat stay out of the Musina hotpot: The marathon ingredients are a gruelling drive to the far northern boundaries of South Africa, an early morning border crossing on one of the busiest roads in Africa and precisely 42.2km over vast expanses of heinous hills. Throw them together and cook for several hours in 35°C heat – and you have the recipe for a fantastic and unique marathon experience!

To tick this race off the bucket list, you must successfully conquer three arduous challenges… Continue reading “Two Countries Marathon (Musina in Action)”

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