Tonight I decided to profile a marathon I had not heard of before I came across it in an online search. Tonight’s profile is of the Big Five Marathon in South Africa.
What makes this one unique is that it gives you the opportunity to run a marathon in a game reserve. Where else could you run among lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo? Incidentally, this is where the name of the marathon comes from, the animals referred to as the Big Five game in Africa.
Now you might think a race through lion territory would be dangerous. Apparently it is not as there are helicopters and armed rangers patrolling the course in order to ensure the safety of runners.
Here’s a video from youtube to give an idea of what the course is like…
Tonight’s profile is of the Comrades Marathon. Although this one is called a marathon, it really is an ultramarathon. It is an approximately 89-90 km (55.9 mile) race that takes place in South Africa (due to slight variations in the course from year to year).
Part of me still thinks ultramarathons are crazy and I am not sure that I will ever want to commit to training for one. For now the marathon distance is enough for me although I maybe should not say I won’t do one. Just a few years ago I never thought I would want to run a marathon!
The appeal to this one for me is simple. I would love to travel to South Africa and combining a trip with running would make a great vacation for me.
The marathon runs between Durban and Pietermaritzburg with the direction switching every year.
Since the course switches directions every year. it ends up being primarily a “downhill course” one year and primarily an “uphill course” the following year. I am not sure which one would be more challenging.
The final cutoff time for the race is 12 hours, at which point the final cutoff gun is fired.