NGK Familiefees Marathon: The Time I Finished 2nd

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[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!

It’s not always how fast you run, it’s the races you pick. The story about the time I finished 2nd in a marathon.

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Heroes Marathon, Mthatha (Back2Back Marathon Weekend)

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[MARATHON #171 / UNIQUE MARATHON #88 / 3 December 2017]

[Part 2 or my first back2back marathon weekend – click here for Part 1]

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.

Heroes Marathon was my first visit to the Transkei. I made it to the start but would I make it to the finish?

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Aspen PE City Marathon (Back2Back Marathon Weekend)

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[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-lappers around 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.

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Platinum Belt Marathon: Rustenburg to Marikana (sans water)

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[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.

Does my bum look fat in these pants? Fashion modelling on the Marikana high street.

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Soweto Marathon (Ubuntu for the average middle-class white guy)

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[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:

  • Identification
  • Championchip
  • Printed confirmation of entry

Things you don’t want to bring to race registration:

  • Kids

Things you want to avoid bringing to race registration at all costs:

  • Moaning kids

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Phoenix “It’s a Numbers Game” Marathon – Mixing with UK’s Lunatic Running Fringe

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[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).

Spoiler Alert: I managed to find time for a beer before my flight home.

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Cape Town Marathon

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[marathon #165 / unique marathon #83 / 17 September 2017]

I was looking for an excuse to take a long weekend in the Mother City – and the Cape Town Marathon more than justified a trip down south.

Plenty to see in the heart of Cape Town including the Mount Nelson Hotel, South African National Gallery, South African Holocaust Museum, St Mary’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, City Gardens, City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope.

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Reykjavik Marathon (and everything I learned about Iceland in 2 days)

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[marathon #164 / unique marathon #82]

One of my paradoxical mantras is that, “Every holiday should include a marathon.” Last year, with some exceptional planning, I managed to fit three marathons into a one-week holiday in KwaZulu Natal. Unfortunately, young kids and the steadily declining rand mean that international holidays (and therefore international marathons) are something of a rarity these days. However, August 2017 saw a mini-family reunion scheduled in the Lake District in England and I hoped that this would provide the opportunity to increase my international marathon count (which was sitting at 26).

Travel dates were fixed around the Johannesburg school holidays and I expected to be spoilt for choice with interesting English marathons to pick from. I was devastated to find nothing in the race calendar. It’s obviously far too hot to run summer marathons in the UK – damn global warming! Undeterred I decided to cast my net wider; and was relieved to find the Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland where it never gets too hot to run marathons.

Iceland – where it’s never too hot to run a marathon.

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