Kosmos 3-in-1 (Where A Marathon Is The Soft Option)

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[MARATHON #180 / UNIQUE MARATHON #97 / 10 MARCH 2018]

The Kosmos Marathon in Secunda is an easy 90-minute drive from Johannesburg – this is below the “stayover for the night vs. drive on the morning” threshold so I was up just after 3am to get to the 6am start. After eight consecutive Friday nights away from home to run different marathons around the country, I enjoyed the novelty and comfort of sleeping in my own bed before a race – although my daughters were not impressed that their weekly camp out with mom was cancelled!

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Maritzburg City Marathon (A Return To The Mainstream)

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[MARATHON #178 / UNIQUE MARATHON #95 /  25 FEBRUARY 2018]

As a marathon running connoisseur, I consider small town marathons to be the craft beer of the running world – they’re harder to locate, are a bit more expensive to consume and should always be savoured rather than sprinted. Having consumed five fantastic craft marathons already in 2018, it was with some trepidation that I approached a return to the mainstream for the Witness Maritzburg City Marathon, the biggest standard marathon in Kwazulu Natal.

It’s nice to stand in front of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall with just 15km left to run during the Maritzburg City Marathon. Will be standing here again on 10 June (along with 20,000 other Comrades) with a slightly more daunting 90.1km to go.

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Assegaai Marathon (Can You Judge A Marathon By The Shirt?)

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[MARATHON #177 / UNIQUE MARATHON #94 /  17 FEBRUARY 2018]

I am trying to run a different marathon every weekend to reach my goal of 100 unique marathons before Comrades (it is not wise to plan anything post Comrades). As a marathon slut (I like to run around and will get my legs onto whatever I can), I’ve found some great marathons all around South Africa (and the world) on this quest. Occasionally I get the opportunity to tick off one of my “bucket list” races – and on the second weekend in February it was time for the Assegaai Marathon to come out of the bucket and into my legs.

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Potties Marathon Photies (A Pictorial Report from the South African Bushveld)

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[MARATHON #176 / UNIQUE MARATHON #93 /  10 FEBRUARY 2018]

Running with a buddy is fun and saves costs when travelling. I’ve been running a marathon a weekend and my travelling running buddy, Julian Karp, has been doing two a weekend – but it was only on week four of the South African marathon calendar that our plans aligned for the Potties Marathon.

We caught up on marathon adventures on the drive to Mokopane (formerly Potgietersrus). Although the town name was officially changed in 2003, there are no plans to change the race name to Mokkies in the near future. Continue reading “Potties Marathon Photies (A Pictorial Report from the South African Bushveld)”

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Volksrust Marathon (High Spirits in the Highlands)

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[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.

The local farmers man most of the water tables and bring out their finest tractors to show off to the runners!

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.

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Finlime Marathon (The Time I Ran a Marathon in Middle of the Kalahari Desert)

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[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.

Finlime Marathon, Lime Acres (the middle of the Kalahari Desert)

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JB Marks Marathon, Ventersdorp

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[MARATHON #172 / UNIQUE MARATHON #89 / 16 December 2017]

I visited Ventersdorp for the first time ever in March this year (to run a marathon).

I visited Ventersdorp for the for second time this December (also to run a marathon).

Running a marathon is a one good reason to visit Ventersdorp. You will be hard pressed to find a second…

About to re-enter Ventersdorp – twice in one year (voluntarily).

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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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