[MARATHON #229 / Unique Marathon #131 / 26 October 2019]
It’s said that sex, politics and religion are the three topics one should always steer well clear of. I am well known for ignoring sensible advice and tackle all three in this race report.
Ultra marathons are hard to come by in the second half of the year in South Africa. As summer heats up, the ultras dry up and by the time you get to the last quarter there is just one road ultra to service your running thirst: Polokwane’s Run4Cancer 48k (which also happens to be the only ultra marathon in the Limpopo Province).
I try to make one running trip a year to Limpopo’s capital city and, since Run4Cancer was the only marathon missing from my Polokwane portfolio, it was the logical place to drag my family over the mid-term school holiday (before anyone calls child services, I did include the sweetener of a couple of nights in a game reserve after the race).
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.