Records tumble in city’s favourite marathon

2013-03-02 00:00

RECORDS are meant to be broken and this was again a feature of the organisation and running of Sunday’s 17th Weekend Witness Maritzburg marathon.

The records were not restricted to the performances and were being broken even before the 5 am blast that shook the sleepy hollow of Maritzburg awake.

With well over 5 000 entries, it was a record field that lined up in the weekend events, with women accounting for 60% of the 10 km, 49% of the half marathon and 35% of the marathon fields. These are considerably improved ratios given that a few years ago the gender bias was closer to 80/20.

While Eskom Gijimas and Collegians Harriers contribute the greatest number of club runners with 160 and 107 respectively, less than one quarter of the entries list a Maritzburg address, which is indicative of the massive injection the race has on the local commerce and community.

The diversity of distances from 42 metres to 42 kilometres ensures that no-one is left out of the proceedings, with toddlers being assisted by parents, through to 81-year-old Mick Houghting, who completed the 10 km.

So what are the ingredients of the Weekend Witness Maritzburg Marathon that make it such a successful event and the most popular Comrades qualifier in the country?

It’s a case of using the passion, commitment, dedication and every last ounce of energy of the 23-person committee to mix, bake, prepare and host the 5 000 plus runners.

The resources required include:

130 000 water sachets

21 000 Powerade sachets

1 000 litres of HYDRAssist

4 500 litres of Coke

5 000 boiled potatoes

40 000 plastic drinking bottles

6 100 T-shirts

500 cardboard bins

300 volunteers

130 marshals

50 sub contractors

40 traffic officers

25 SA Police members

25 car guards

20 chiropractors

15 cheer leaders

12 stretcher-bearers

9 physiotherapists

7 paramedics

6 DJs

5 cannon shots

4 nursing sisters

3 bands

2 gunners

1 doctor

and

… a Naval cannon!

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