Bela-Bela Marathon (Boiling point in Limpopo)

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[MARATHON #231 / My 2nd Bela-Bela Marathon / 9 November 2019]

Global warming is starting to make its impression on town names: Warmbad, Afrikaans for “Hot Bath”, recently changed its name (and from liquid to gas) to Bela-Bela, which means Boiling-Boiling in Tswana.

South African runners are generally pretty resilient to heat but I remember passing the discarded bodies of melted runners lying at the side of the road when I previously ran the Bela-Bela Marathon in 2010. Burn out was recently recognised as an official syndrome by the World Health Organisation – and I expect there is an epidemic in Bela-Bela.

Bela-Bela is in the Waterberg region of Limpopo and rudimentary science tells you that combining heat and water results in heaps of humidity. The town is basically one big Bikram Yoga studio during the summer months. Continue reading “Bela-Bela Marathon (Boiling point in Limpopo)”

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What the Comrades Marathon tells you about Agile Transformations

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I was asked to submit a “Running Mann-style” presentation for the Business Agility Africa conference.  The accepted topic was, “What the Comrades Marathon tells you about Agile Transformations” and ended up being the final of 21 presentations from speakers representing 6 countries.

Before the presentation, several of the 170 delegates asked, “How the hell do you relate Comrades to agile transformations?” After the presentation, they were left in no doubt! The presentation combines stats and stories from the great ultra running event on the planet – and I even managed to work in “The Agile Running Mannifesto!” Continue reading “What the Comrades Marathon tells you about Agile Transformations”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to March Marathons & Ultras

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

There are fantastic marathon running options in every corner of our beautiful country during March which makes this the ideal month for a running vacation (that’s a holiday planned around marathons – not a break from running!). Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to March Marathons & Ultras”

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Run4Cancer Ultra (Sex, Politics & Religion in Limpopo)

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[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).

One happy bunny enjoying the only road ultra marathon in South Africa over the last quarter of the year.

Continue reading “Run4Cancer Ultra (Sex, Politics & Religion in Limpopo)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to February 2020 Marathons

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

Marathon running is making the most of the leap year: February is the busiest month for marathon running in 2020 with 29 days and 27 options.  There is something for everyone – from big marathons like Jeppe, Pretoria and Peninsula through to the the smallest qualifier marathon in the country with – Spitskop in Upington who had just 6 finshers in 2019.  Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to February 2020 Marathons”

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Voet van Afrika Marathon (Scratching the seven-year itch)

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[MARATHON #228 / Voet #11 / 12 October 2019]

Before I started running there were three marathons that I wanted to complete: Two Oceans, Knysna and the Voet van Afrika. I’m pleased to say that I managed to place large green ticks next to each race in my first year of running in 2002.

After I started running there were three marathons that I wanted to complete ten times to earn a permanent number. No prizes for guessing that the same three entries made the list. I managed ten in a row at Two Oceans and Knysna but the arrival of my second daughter meant that my tenth Voet was delayed by one year*. Continue reading “Voet van Afrika Marathon (Scratching the seven-year itch)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to 2020 January Marathons

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This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s January 2020 marathons including race descriptions and recommendations.

South African marathons go on hiatus from the beginning of December until the middle of January. As a marathon running obsessive, I normally get withdrawal symptoms during the break (symptoms include a lethargy in the legs and a noticeable swelling in the belly) so I try to get my first marathon of the year done at the earliest opportunity. The good news is that there are seven magnificent options to choose from in January.

Experience an Ottosdal sunset – one of seven magnificent marathon running options in January.

Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to 2020 January Marathons”

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Golden Gate Marathon (The National Park run)

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[MARATHON #227 / UNIQUE MARATHON #130 / 5 October 2019]

In South Africa we are privileged to be able to run several marathons inside our National Parks and World Heritage Sites. I am always keen for the chance to add another National Park run to my collection and therefore jumped at the opportunity to enter the inaugural Clarens Golden Gate Marathon.

Having run Surrender Hill Marathon in Clarens earlier this year, I was familiar with the scenery (= stunning) and terrain (= gruelling) so I knew we could expect a run of unsurpassed beauty and unrelenting hills just down the road in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Continue reading “Golden Gate Marathon (The National Park run)”

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The Running Mann’s Guide to December Marathons

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

For those that want to put a down payment on the festive food intake, there are just four marathons to choose from in December before the marathon running calendar goes on hiatus.

Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to December Marathons”

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Karoo 80k Ultra (Flood Levelling-Up in Laingsburg)

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[Marathon #226 / Unique Marathon #129 / 28 September 2019]

Although South Africa is known for being “ultra mad”, in reality our runners only have sporadic bouts of insanity with a select few races. The two main delirium inducing culprits are Comrades and Two Oceans (the only two ultra marathons in the world to record over 10,000 finishers) – and there are just three other ultras (Loskop, Om Die Dam and Irene) that boasted more than 1,000 finishers in 2019.

Furthermore, the second half of the year is particularly lucid with just a handful of road ultras on the calendar – and all these races have to be content with a few hundred institutionalised patients participants. You’d have to be crazy to voluntarily check yourself into the nuthouse. Likewise, there are no rational explanations for entering ultra marathons in the desert, only justifications – here are mine.

At 80 kilometres, Laingsburg’s Karoo Ultra is the only race on the calendar between the Two Oceans and Comrades distances making it what long distance snobs call a “proper ultra”. As such, it is a race that any self-professed running connoisseur must have on his CV. I also love a bargain – and with an entry fee of just R100 ($7/€6), this is the cheapest rand per kilometre race in the country (the further you run the more you save!).

When there are more kilometres to run (80) than runners to run them (71) you need to have strong justifications to line-up at the start.

Continue reading “Karoo 80k Ultra (Flood Levelling-Up in Laingsburg)”

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