Kloppers Marathon (and overcoming my Afrikaans angst)

[MARATHON #260 / UNIQUE MARATHON #156 / 10 February 2024]

Afrikaans was never my strongpoint. Afrikaans teachers and I regarded each other with mutual contempt throughout my school career. One of them even banged her head on the desk in exasperation when she realised that my younger brother was in her class during his first roll call in standard 6. Let’s just say that my free-spirited schoolboy antics did not blend well with the strict (and sometimes sadistic) ethos of the average Afrikaans onderwyser.

Perhaps it is the psychological scarring I endured on the top floor of Rondebosch Boys High (I think they put the Afrikaans bloc there so that the other classes would not be disturbed by the screams) that has resulted in a subliminal avoidance of Bloemfontein marathons. To date I have just one credit, the OFM Music Marathon (which has not taken place since Covid) in the City of Roses. Therefore, I decided to face my fears and take my running shoes into the domain where Englishmen fear to tread by entering the Kloppers Marathon.

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The Lunatics are Ruining the Asylum (the fight against idiotic athletics officialdom)


Picture a new runner who has just discovered the joy of running. They’ve gone from being a couch potato to struggling through a 5km parkrun to running a comfortable parkrun every Saturday morning. They are proud of their progress and look forward to a new challenge by entering the Firgrove 15km in Constantia, Cape Town. This is the furthest that they have ever run and, at the start line, they are not even sure that they’ll make it. As they near the finish, dreams of entering a half marathon and maybe even Cape Town Marathon later that year fill their head. They cross the finish line with a broad smile, the pain of sore legs disappears with the exultation of the runner’s high and the endorphins of achievement course through their blood.

Then, all of a sudden, it all comes crashing down when some prick with a badge and an orange vest starts obnoxiously shouting that you are disqualified for violating a rule you knew nothing about. How many social runners that bear the brunt of antisocial refereeing are lost to the sport of road running?

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Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala Marathon (The show aint over…)


[MARATHON #259 / UNIQUE MARATHON #155 / 4 February 2024]

My mission to run every marathon in South Africa took me to Ladysmith on the first weekend of February for the Dr. Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala Marathon. Most of the KwaZulu Natal marathons are run on a Sunday so my frequent travel companion, Julian Karp, and I took a relaxed Saturday afternoon drive down the N3.

I had booked us accommodation at Farquar Lodge since the ratings were good, the price was affordable and I knew that there was a good “Farquar”-ing chance that I’d be able to make a joke or two about the venue name in the race report.

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