[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.
This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s November marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.
Although there are no ultras on offer, November is the busiest month on the South African distance calendar since April with 13 marathons available:
Queenstown’s longstanding Bonkolo Marathon is by far the smallest marathon on offer this weekend. This looks like a great race centred around the dam that bears the same name.
Mbombela’s flagship marathon, Kaapsehoop, starts amongst the wild horses before plummeting down to Mbombela Stadium (where those who go out too fast finish like donkeys).
Soweto was the largest marathon in the country in 2018 and will be aiming to maintain their status in 2019. With 40,000 entrants across the various events, expect the South Western Township to be buzzing even more than usual on the first Sunday of November.
Bloemfontein marathons seem to be disappearing but the Music Marathon is back on the playlist. A vibey event with plenty of colour and music-themed support tables to keep you going over the hilly course.
Bela Bela celebrates its 30th year and is an excellent reason for an away running weekend in the resort town famous for her warm baths.
Another great running weekend away is offered by the Winelands Marathon in Stellenbosch.
Life is tough with just two laps around Durban’s Bluff on offer this weekend. If you call their bluff you can expect to see plenty of hills and sea views along the way.
Die Vlakte is a point-to-point race from Heidelberg to the Witsand beachfront – a lowkey marathon that’s well worth running.
Another point-to-point option is the Josiah Gumede Marathon in rural Kwazulu Natal. I enjoyed the inaugural marathon last year and expect those running in 2019 will do as well.
A new event is the Mogoeba Plunge Marathon which, as the name suggests, is a downhill flyer from Haenertsburg to Tzaneen.
Those keen for a challenge can look into the Platinum Belt Marathon from Marikana to Phokeng (near Rustenburg). I ran the inaugural event in 2017 and it was a complete shambles. After being cancelled in 2018, they are having another go in 2019 but I would approach this one with extreme caution.
The busiest Saturday on the running calendar is rounded off with the Sani Stagger. This is my recommended run for November (see below for extended details) but you’ll have to wait until 2020 or get a substitution entry as the 2019 event is sold out.
Just one option this weekend. Another new marathon, the Riana van Niekerk Run/Walk for Bibles who are offering two laps of their well established half marathon route this year.