Music Marathon (Running in the Dead Centre of South Africa)

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[Marathon #199 / Unique Marathon #110 / 10 November 2018]

I recently researched the most geographically extreme marathons in South Africa. This quickly led to me wondering which is the most central. It turns out that the geographic centre of South Africa is very close to Bloemfontein. I’ve seen many people use the word ‘literally’ when they mean figuratively (e.g. as in, “I’ve literally seen thousands of people using ‘literally’ incorrectly.”). However, if you were to say, “Bloemfontein is the dead centre of South Africa.” this would be true in both the literal and figurative sense of the term.

Bloemfontein is the Dead Centre of South Africa (original map from www.nationsonline.org)

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Marathon Addict? Guilty As Charged! (My 100th Unique Marathon At Bruintjieshoogte)

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[MARATHON #186 / UNIQUE Marathon #100 / 21 April 2018]

Prudent South African runners only plan their running year BC (before Comrades). When you’re running Comrades in June, it is presumptuous to plan anything for the second half of the year. Having ended 2017 with 89 unique marathons, I realised that I could reach my goal of 100 unique marathons in 2018 BC via a combination of three factors: good health, extensive travel and a very understanding wife.

Everything went perfectly to plan: After 13 consecutive marathon running weekends all around the country (with just three repeat races: Om Die Dam, Two Oceans and Jackie Gibson), it was now time to conclude the 100 unique marathons goal. When picking a milestone marathon, many people would pick a large, flashy and prestigious marathon – but there’s a big risk of getting “Phantom Menanced” and the hype not living up to expectations.

Summiting a termite mound in preparation for summiting the Bruinjieshoogte pass.

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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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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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Soweto Marathon (Ubuntu for the average middle-class white guy)

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[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:

  • Identification
  • Championchip
  • Printed confirmation of entry

Things you don’t want to bring to race registration:

  • Kids

Things you want to avoid bringing to race registration at all costs:

  • Moaning kids

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Top 10 Reasons To Grow A Beard

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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.

Eight months on and the world is indeed a better place. Based on my experience, here are my top 10 reasons to grow a beard… Continue reading “Top 10 Reasons To Grow A Beard”

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