This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s October marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
October is a quiet month for marathon runners with just seven options spread all around the country, including two very interesting new events:
- Mpumalanga offers tour of the rural villages on the western extremities of the Kruger National Park with the Shikumba Filling Marathon (named for the petrol station where the race starts and finishes).
- Limpopo hosts the only ultra marathon of the month with the Run 4 Cancer 48k in Polokwane.
- After a marshalling error resulted in a short course last year, De Wet de Beer and the team from Jacaranda Marathon are promising a runner-centric reboot of the event. Definitely check this one out – and the new route – if you’re in Gauteng (where marathons are scarce in the second half of the year).
- My pick for the month is Boland’s best, the toughest race with the warmest heart and the southernmost marathon in Africa – Voet van Afrika Marathon (more details below).
- The last Sunday on the month provides a tour of the Kwazulu Natal South Coast from Scottburgh to Amanzimtoti at the Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon.
There are two new marathons on the calendar. As I understand it (awaiting verification) you can use them to qualify for Two Oceans but not for Comrades. However, whilst they both seem like spectacular events, it’s doubtful anyone will actually use them as a qualifier for the reasons stated below:
- The Clarens Golden Gate Marathon is an out-an-back route run entirely within the national park: an absolutely beautiful but disgustingly hilly part of the world.
- The Cape Wine Marathon is an off-road circular tour of all the wine farms in the Durbanville Hills region of the Western Cape. There are 13 wine tasting tables so arrive with a clean palette and a designated driver.
Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to October Marathons & Ultra”
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s September marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
For those wanting to work off some of the winter fat, it’s still slim pickings as we hit spring on the marathon running calendar: Just six standard marathons and one ultra. However, each one is a quality choice.
After a marathon break of four months in Gauteng, the Vaal River Marathon gets the Highveld going again whilst the Amajuba Marathon in Newcastle, Kwazulu Natal provides a good central option for those in need of a well-organised long run.
However, it is the Western and Eastern Cape that dominate your September options with five of their athletics districts hosting a stunner of a race:
- In the Border region, East London’s Tony Viljoen Masters Marathon is a point-to-point downhill flyer. This years race has special significance as Tony Viljoen, who founded and led Border Masters Athletics for 40 years, passed away at the beginning of August.
- Eastern Province Athletics offers you the Friendly City Marathon in Port Elizabeth. This is a friends-with-some-hilly-benefits out-and-back route with plenty of beautiful ocean views along the way.
- In the Transkei, the Elliot Madeira Marathon provides some scenic countryside running before finishing in the buzzing town of Mthatha.
- One of the highlights of the running calendar and Western Province Athletics’ crown jewel is the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – the only IAAF Gold label status marathon in Africa and my recommended marathon for September.
- The month ends with the Laingsburg Karoo Ultra Marathon in the South Western Districts – 80 kilometres of bliss in the heart of the Karoo Desert.
Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to September Marathons & Ultra”
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s August marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
South Africa’s long distance road running scene awakes slowly from its post-Comrades winter hibernation with just six options (including one brand new race) for the marathon connoisseur.
It’s bonanza time in Kwazulu Natal where half the races are hosted (including both ultras) but Gauteng runners (and all those north of the Vaal) will have to make travel plans to get an early Two Oceans qualifier under the belt. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to August Marathons & Ultras”
[Marathon #208 / Unique Marathon #118 / 2 March 2019]
One of my wild running ideas is to pick the best and most beautiful small-town marathons from all around the South Africa and create a ‘Hidden Gems’ series – the objective being to add a finish at each one to your lifetime marathon running CV. It’s still very much in the formulative stage but I would ensure that there is at least one race per province.
There are so many great small-town marathons scattered all over our beautiful country that whittling the list down to a manageable size, say a dozen, is going to be a challenge. However, I expected a bigger challenge to be finding a Free State marathon that meets my stringent selection criteria. Although there are many great Free State runs, ‘beautiful’ is not adjective one readily associates with their routes.
Nevertheless, as an optimist by nature, I held out hope that a hidden gem could still be unearthed in the Free State. Many marathons ago, I got chatting to some runners from Bethlehem (if memory serves me correctly it was one wise man and two wise women) who told me of a neighbouring town called Clarens and a marathon called Surrender Hill. Continue reading “Surrender Hill Marathon (Overdosing on Maluti Muti)”
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s April and May marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
April is ultra month, with seven ultras dominating the lonely three marathons on offer. There are just six road ultras in the world with over 1,000 finishers – they are all run in South Africa and four of them are held in April (my own personal favourite ultra is the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon over the Easter weekend).
May is much quieter as the South Africa marathon calendar revolves around Comrades qualification which ends on 1 May. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to April/May Marathons & Ultras”