This story was confessed to me by a club mate who made a terrible mistake during her first Two Oceans Marathon in 2004. It still haunts her to this day and she doesn’t want other novices to repeat the same grave error of judgement.
She is still acutely embarrassed by her naïve blunder – so much so that she only agreed to share her story under condition of anonymity. Therefore, I have decided to respect her wishes and will refer to the protagonist of this story under the code name BN4991.
[Marathon #206 / Unique Marathon #116 / 16 February 2019]
Father Christmas, unicorns, working indicators on BMWs and single-lap marathons in Pretoria. Before 2018 none of these existed – three still don’t.
Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city, is crammed full of bureaucrats and civil servants who like nothing more than to capture everything in duplicate – this philosophy spills out onto the streets with all their road running events being double-lappers. I am not sure whether there has ever has been a single-lap marathon in Pretoria but there has definitely never been one in Tshwane*. Call me a Doubting Thomas but when I heard that the Bestmed Tuks Marathon was a single-lap route I had to see it for myself to believe it. Continue reading “Tuks Marathon (Earning your undergraduate degree the hard way)”
Rule #1 of Comrades is “Don’t try anything new on race day.” No one says anything about the week before Comrades but they probably should. I found myself in a dilemma. The ultra-runner’s version of Catch-22: It would be really stupid to do your first adventure race the week before Comrades; but running Comrades is really stupid in the first place.
I was all set for my 9thComrades. I wasn’t planning to conclude my Comrades taper with my first adventure race. I was planning to be a sensible ultra marathon runner. That’s the honest truth! Life was simple until Phuti got involved.
[MARATHON #179 / UNIQUE MARATHON #96 / 3 March 2018]
The runners in Mbombela like to go down. They have one marathon (Kaapsehoop) and one ultra – and both are certified quadkillers – plummeting you from the highest points in the Lowveld down to Mbombela (in the lowerveld).
How low can you go? You have the choice of doing the Uniwisp Fast 10, 21.1, 42.2 or 50km. Having just done the 50km option (what else!), I can certify that this is the fastest ultra in country and makes Loskop look like Longtom.
[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.
Sometimes stereotypes are unkind and unfair. However, in my case the stereotype of “the husband who leaves Christmas shopping to the last minute” was totally justified. It was December 24th and I still had not bought my wife anything for Christmas…
[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:
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.
For the last few years I’ve done Movember. Not only did I help raise several hundred thousand rands for CANSA but I also quickly realised that fast facial hair growth is one of my super powers. Despite this evolutionary advantage over other humans, I’ve spent the rest of my time on this planet clean shaven. At the end of last year I finally decided it was time to embrace this talent and unleash the full potential of my unshaven awesomeness on the world – so I decided to Decem-beard.