Race Relations: Cancellation Controversy in the time of Corona

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[This article was originally published on Sport24.co.za]

Following on from the in-depth look at the Comrades Marathon Association’s decision not to refund 2020 entrants, this article evaluates the ‘refund / no refund’ decisions of South Africa’s other large marathons and ultras who’ve been forced to cancel their 2020 events during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ: Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate article.

 

Of the Big 5 ultra marathons, only Om Die Dam took place in 2020. The largest four ultra marathons have all been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic with only Loskop being able to offer full refunds.
South Africa’s largest three marathons are all still planned for last quarter of 2020. The Wally Hayward Marathon is the only Big 5 marathon impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic to date but were able to offer the choice of a refund or deferred entry to runners.

Continue reading “Race Relations: Cancellation Controversy in the time of Corona”

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Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate

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[This article was originally published on Sport24.co.za]

At lunch time on 14 May, I was taking advantage of a gap between video calls by doing another lockdown run up and down my driveway.

As you can imagine, driveway laps are not particularly interesting and I welcome any distraction from the monotony. Therefore, every vibration on my phone results in an excited glance at the screen to see whatever notification has been delivered.

I was about 30 minutes into my regular 10km jog when the latest buzz presented the email notification, “Media Release: 2020 Comrades Marathon has been cancelled.

I didn’t even break stride. Continue reading “Money or the Goody Bag? The Great Comrades Refund Debate”

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Bonkolo Marathon (Warming up for a World Cup win)

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[MARATHON #230 / Unique Marathon #131 / 2 November 2019]

Where were you when the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup for the third time?
In an ethnic hair salon in Stutterheim is my unlikely reply.
How I got there was a result of bad planning and incredibly low expectations.

With the Rugby World Cup final a couple of hours away, the support tables during the Bonkolo Marathon were in full swing. I asked these guys who was going to win. They answered correctly: ‘Bokke!’

South Africa has three marathons on the first weekend of November – Soweto, Kaapsehoop and Bonkolo. Soweto and Kaapsehoop are two of the biggest marathons in South Africa whereas Bonkolo, with just 120 runners, is definitely the acutest angle on this running triangle. Continue reading “Bonkolo Marathon (Warming up for a World Cup win)”

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Sedibeng Marathon (Getting down & dirty in the Vaal Triangle)

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[MARATHON #235 / Unique Marathon #135 / 8 December 2019]

Running a marathon in the Vaal Triangle for the views, is like watching a porno for the storyline.

As they say in the classics, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”. I’m not one to judge anyone for what they do in the privacy of their own home – and you shouldn’t judge those who choose to run in the Vaal Triangle (not until you’ve run a marathon in their shoes anyway)! And speaking of classics, Debbie might already have done Dallas – but Stuart still needed to strut around Sedibeng.  Continue reading “Sedibeng Marathon (Getting down & dirty in the Vaal Triangle)”

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Riana van Niekerk Marathon (Showing off in Snor City)

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[MARATHON #234 / Unique Marathon #134 / 30 November 2019]

A true test of a man’s virility can be found north of the Jukskei. Pretoria, aka Snor City, is the original Home of the Moustache. Fortunately fast facial hair growth is my superpower and, despite only putting my razor blades away halfway through Movember, I arrived at the start of the Riana van Niekerk Run & Walk For Bibles Marathon sporting a moustache of impressive elegance, grace and girth.

Continue reading “Riana van Niekerk Marathon (Showing off in Snor City)”

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The Home Ironman Experience (my first triathlon)

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[Unofficial MARATHON #1 / Triathlon #1 / 4 April 2020]

It was a dark and stormy night.

It was a dark and stormy morning too.

In fact, the whole damn week had been dark and stormy.

Still, I had no one but myself (and some bat-eating bastard in Wuhan) to blame for the predicament I now faced. On the coldest, wettest and most miserable day of the year, I was the idiot who’d be attempting a Home Ironman as his first ever triathlon. Continue reading “The Home Ironman Experience (my first triathlon)”

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Anco Ultra (You know you’re addicted to running when…)

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[MARATHON #241 / Unique Marathon #141 / 14 March 2020]

I’ve seen plenty of “You know you’re a runner when…” lists. They usually include items like getting up earlier on the weekend than during the week, having one pair of smart shoes and a dozen pairs of running shoes, spending more on running kit than on food, etc.

Unfortunately, for you the aspirant real runner, all those lists are completely bogus. The real test of whether you’re a real runner or not is, of your own volition and free will, travelling to Welkom to take part in a triple-lap ultra. That’s my excuse for making the three hour drive south to run the Anco 48k Ultra and I’m sticking to it.

Continue reading “Anco Ultra (You know you’re addicted to running when…)”

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Diamond Marathon (Roughing it amongst the diamonds)

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[MARATHON #240 / Unique Marathon #140 / 7 March 2020]

The chance to run a golden jubilee marathon happens once every 50 years. The chance to run the golden jubilee of the Diamond Marathon is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Therefore, when it came to planning my 2020 race schedule, the first race that went down in ink was the Northern Cape’s oldest marathon.

Congratulations to Kimberley Harriers Running Club on your golden jubilee (and thanks for the wonderful hospitality). (Photo from Kimberley Harriers’ Facebook page)

Continue reading “Diamond Marathon (Roughing it amongst the diamonds)”

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Hemel & Aarde Marathon (Leap year running)

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[MARATHON #239 / Unique Marathon #139 / 29 February 2020]

For the last few years, my daughters’ mid-term break had provided the opportunity for the family to have a short holiday (and for dad to run a new marathon). This year it was down to the Fairest Cape for the inaugural Hemel and Aarde Marathon, run between Caledon and Hermanus.

For those unfamiliar with Afrikaans, ‘Hemel’ means Heaven and ‘Aarde’ means Earth. Despite what Belinda Carlisle sang in the 80s, Heaven is not a place on Earth, but the Hemel and Aarde is a marathon in the Western Cape.

Heaven might not be a place on earth but Hemel and Aarde is a marathon (and a valley) in the Western Cape.

Continue reading “Hemel & Aarde Marathon (Leap year running)”

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Bielie Mielie Marathon (Valentine’s Day in the Free State)

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[MARATHON #238 / Unique Marathon #138 / 15 February 2020]

This year I spent Valentine’s Day in Frankfort. By choice I might add. That is a scenario that needs some explanation so here is the backstory…

I’ve been told that the most romantic thing you can do in the Free State is take your lover to an agricultural festival. As agricultural festivals go, they don’t get much bigger than the VKB Bielie Mielie Festival in Reitz and, as luck would have it for Free State romantics, this year the festival fell over Valentine’s weekend. Continue reading “Bielie Mielie Marathon (Valentine’s Day in the Free State)”

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