[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).
[marathon #166 / unique marathon #84 / 1 October 2017]
The best thing about work travel is hunting down obscure marathons to run. A short trip to London and the hunt was on… After whittling down the options, Clarendon Marathon was selected as the potential prey to be conquered.
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.