Mega-marathon fun for PMB

2010-02-27 00:00

THE February festival of running begins this morning with the opening, at 9 am, of the expo and re­gistration, followed by the popular Maritzburg Marathon and Half Marathon presented by Weekend Witness and PostNet.

Organisers have embellished the registration at the Carbineers’ Drill Hall with the opportunity for related industries and service providers to showcase themselves and share products and know­ledge with participants and the general public.

Thousands of locals are expec­ted to rub shoulders with Comrades Marathon aspirants when they come to collect their race numbers and commemorative T-shirt­s in readiness for the marathon start at 5 am tomorrow, in Bulwer Street outside Merchiston School.

Adding to the festivities, a series of fun runs and walks will see people of all shapes, ages, sizes and abilities taking to the streets of the city this afternoon, beginning with a 2,1 km or 4,2 km run/walk.

The start is at 2 pm in Geere Street and the course loops along Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Burger Street, Boshoff Street, Bulwer Street and Millar Street, before finishing at the marathon line off Geere Street.

The stronger and more adventurous will do two laps of this easy 2,1 km route.

The minimum age for participation in this event is seven years and it offers the opportunity for mums and dads, grans and grandpas, who may be running the bigger events tomorrow, to share their love of the road with the rest of the family.

Because of the minimum ages related to athletics (for the safety and long-term health of children), the race committee have added a 420-metre event for over-fours and a 210-metre event for their younger brothers and sisters.

The afternoon will also showcase a 42-metre “toddler trot” in the safety of the driveway, and conclude in a 21-metre “nappy crawl” in the main hall shared by registration and the expo.

The cost of participation in each of these events is R20 and tickets can be purchased from 9 am at the Carbineers stand at the expo in the main hall.

KidZone, where professional minders can supervise your children, will be open between 9 am and 6 pm today, and from the start of registration at 4 am until the end of prizegiving around midday tomorrow.

Vying for the title as the biggest 42 km event in the country, over 3 500 men and women will come under starter’s orders with the intention of covering the full distance, many in the hope of posting a good qualifying time for the Comrades Marathon at the end of May. They will be joined by more than 1 100 others, who will be tackling the single lap of 21,1km.

There will be some early road closures, which will affect Bulwer Street, Echo Road and East Street and Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street between 4 am and about 5.30 am. Once the start has been cleared and the race has spread, the roads will be opened to allow motorists to go about their normal business.

Those coming to the start can check the race website (www.pmb42.co.za) for information and directions to assist them in getting to the start efficiently and safely.

“We’d love the citizens of Maritzburg to come out and enjoy the occasion,” said John Hall, chairman of the organising committee.

“More than 80% of the field are visitors to the city and the midlands and more than 200 of these are coming from beyond the borders of our province,” said Hall.

“We’re also fortunate to be joined by 23 foreign runners. This number is growing annually as runners use business visits and holidays to South Africa to take in a race with a reputation of good organisation.”

 

Runners are advised to collect their race numbers from registration today to familiarise themselves with the recommended routes (www.pmb42.co.za) in daylight and avoid the congestion tomorrow morning by arriving early. If travelling from the midlands or the coast, visitors are reminded to allow time for mist. Re­gistration is from 9 am till 6 pm today and from 4 am to 4.45 am tomorrow. The race starts at 5 am. No entries will be taken on the day.

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