Big 5 Marathon (Entabeni Game Reserve)

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Here’s a running trip down memory lane from one of my rare off-road marathons back in 2008: the Big 5 Marathon, run in the Entabeni Game Reserve in Limpopo Province.

WOW! That is the best way to describe this route, because 42km through a pristine game reserve in the Waterberg is about as good as it gets for this marathon runner. Throw in large herds of antelope (and the odd giraffe) for spectators, an incredibly tough course and excellent organisation and you have the recipe for one of South Africa’s great races.

As the name suggests the race is run in Big 5 territory with rangers out to ‘marshal’ the more dangerous animals away from the runners. (Actually, dodging rhinos seems to be the biggest challenge.) And one thing that you do have to be careful of is not admiring the spectacular surroundings too much, or you are liable to step in a large pile of elephant-style bran muffins! Continue reading “Big 5 Marathon (Entabeni Game Reserve)”

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A Behavioural Science Experiment to get Leaders to Complete an Agile Maturity Assessment

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When it comes to behavioural science, I am an enthusiastic amateur. I guess the same could be said for my marathon running infatuation which, although prolific with over 250 completed, is still firmly footed in the ‘recreational amateur’ category. My payslip reads ‘Agile Coach’ so I’d like to think that I’ve managed to breach the amateur category in my chosen career (but you might need to check with my colleagues to confirm whether I do indeed qualify as a professional). It’s not often that running, behavioural science and agile coaching intersect but recently they did, so I decided to use the opportunity to run an experiment and this is what happened. Continue reading “A Behavioural Science Experiment to get Leaders to Complete an Agile Maturity Assessment”

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Tronox Marathon (The Empangeni sugar rush)

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[MARATHON #251 / UNIQUE MARATHON #148 / 29 May 2022]

It was a bleak May for marathons. After running the Seshego 50k on the opening day of the month, circumstances conspired against me. The 8th of May is Mother’s Day and I am absolutely forbidden from running marathons on this weekend (since accidentally missing Mother’s Day for the Gabarone Marathon in 2018); I’d run all the far-flung marathons the following weekend and thought I’d save the travel budget for runs I’d not done before; The resurrected False Bay Ultra on 22 May is on my “to do” list but my mother was visiting us in Joburg that weekend and she would not have been impressed if her eldest son disappeared to Cape Town for a day. Continue reading “Tronox Marathon (The Empangeni sugar rush)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to August / September 2022 Marathons & Ultras

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s August and September marathons and ultras including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

An August Comrades’ means that there is no much happening over these two months but the few options available are quality runs.

A summary of all your choices is below:

Click to expand.

Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to August / September 2022 Marathons & Ultras”

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From Agile to Zombie Apocalypse: The Walking Dead explains Agile Teams & Release Trains

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The final season of The Walking Dead is currently airing so I thought I’d use the show’s premise – surviving the zombie apocalypse – to explain how agile teams and agile release trains (ARTs) work, as well as the difference between the two.

The executive summary is that:

  • An agile team is like your family unit – your survival is integrally linked to how well you work together as a team and utilise your complementary skills to overcome your daily challenges.
  • An ART is like your village – a community of family units who, when working together effectively, can achieve much more (and survive much longer) than individual family units.
  • Moving from a family unit to a settlement requires giving up some autonomy but the benefits of being part of a team of teams in a settlement vastly outweighs the loss of absolute autonomy.

Continue reading “From Agile to Zombie Apocalypse: The Walking Dead explains Agile Teams & Release Trains”

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Seshego Marathon (Signing out from Polokwane)

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[MARATHON #250 / UNIQUE MARATHON #147 / 1 May 2022]

Having run all their marathons and ultras, I thought that I was done with Polokwane but then this new race popped up on the calendar and sweating out a 50k seemed like an appropriate way to spend Workers’ Day.

The Seshego Marathon is an appropriate way to spend Workers’ Day.

These days I am finding that most of the adventure in running marathons is getting to the start. Point-to-point races always pose logistical challenges and my dire need of beauty sleep (according to my daughters’ forthright opinions, I have a severe deficit in this regard) exacerbates this problem. Continue reading “Seshego Marathon (Signing out from Polokwane)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to July 2022 Marathons & Ultras

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s July marathons and ultras including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

It’s slim pickings in July with just ten confirmed marathons and ultras at the time of writing.

A summary of all your choices is below:

Click to expand.

Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to July 2022 Marathons & Ultras”

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The immediate impact of Scrum Masters (and how reducing committed work leads to more delivery)

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  1. How important is a Scrum Master to a team?
  2. Can an experienced Scrum Master with no domain knowledge have an immediate impact on a team?
  3. How important are realistic sprint commitments?

Here’s a quick article answering all the above questions. Spoiler alert: The short answers are (1) Very, (2) Yes and (3) Very. Continue reading “The immediate impact of Scrum Masters (and how reducing committed work leads to more delivery)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to June 2022 Marathons & Ultras

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s June marathons and ultras including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

There’s a paltry ten options for the road running enthusiast this June which is surprising since this should be a peak Comrades training month.

A summary of all your choices is below:

Click to expand.

Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to June 2022 Marathons & Ultras”

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Durban City Marathon (Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink)

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[MARATHON #248 / UNIQUE MARATHON #146 / 10 April 2022]

In writing my monthly marathon articles, I normally find that there is high correlation between the responsiveness of race organisers and the overall organisational quality of their race. When I get no response to my enquiries the alarm bells go off.

The organisers of the Durban City Marathon are the Durban City Multi Sport Club. This club seems to have successfully avoided leaving any digital footprint, with a Google search producing zero hits. The club had no entrants at this year’s Two Oceans Marathon and only three finishers at the last Comrades Marathon.

On face value this does not seem like the kind of club that would be given the organisation rights to the flagship marathon in South Africa’s third largest city. However, this is the club that most of the technical officials in KZN Athletics belong to. I am not sure if they have a club motto but if they do, I would not be surprised if it’s, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Things you don’t need to bring to the Durban City Marathon: Fishing rods
Things you do: A straw to suck up some delicious rain water (#CarryYourOwn KZN-style)
There was definitely something fishy with this race…

Continue reading “Durban City Marathon (Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink)”

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