Tag Archives: south africa

Marathon Profile: Big Five Marathon

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…
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If that is not enough, go here and check the pictures posted on the marathon’s Facebook page.

If none of this is enough to entice to go out and register for next year’s race you can read some race reviews here.

What do you think, would you do this marathon?

Marathon Profile: Comrades Marathon

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).

I really was not familiar with this one before I read an article in Runner’s World about Bart Yasso running this race in 2010. You can check out a series of videos on that here.

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.

Interested in more information? You can read some reviews of the race here.