Local runners get race ready

2014-12-18 00:00

WITH a little over two months left before the 19th Witness Maritzburg City Marathon gets under way, local runners are preparing for the upcoming race season.

Both Collegians Harriers and Natal Carbineers Athletics Club have members taking on the City of Choice’s marathon, while the latter’s members will also be helping out on the course on race day.

Former Carbineers chairperson Billy Kirkman spoke to The Witness yesterday about the highly-anticipated event.

“We have about 150 members who will help along the course.

“They will also be able to run in the helpers race, which caters for both the half and full marathon,” he said.

Many of Kirkman’s fellow club members will be taking to the road after their duties as the Maritzburg Marathon serves as a qualifier for the Two Oceans and Comrades.

It is also a momentous occasion for the Natal Carbineers, who are commemorating the 160th Anniversary of the formation of the Regiment. The race forms part of the celebration and the Athletics Club will be joining the army function.

Although there are no serving members who run at the club, Kirkman is among a number of ex-serving Carbineers.

“It is quite a big deal for us and the race is the official Carbineer calendar run,” Kirkman said.

Carbineers train three times a week with an official time trial every Wednesday evening, but Kirkman admitted that many members were doing their own training in the lead up to the Marathon.

With around 200 members, Collegians Harriers have a few more runners expected to hit the road.

Club captain Clive Willows said that most runners have been busy building up distance slowly to lay a foundation for the marathon.

“Most people will begin to increase speed in the new year once they have some distance on the legs,” Willows told The Witness.

Much like Carbineers’ members, Willows said most Harriers runners were training in smaller groups around town while the attendance of the weekly time trial has been growing since winter.

Harriers chairperson Les Burnard believes the upcoming marathon is challenging, but is on par with other races in the area.

“A marathon is always tough, no matter how fit you are. But the Maritzburg Marathon is similar to the Hillcrest Marathon and our very own Umgeni Water Marathon,” Burnard said.

“All of these races have been very well supported and it’s great to see them growing,” he added.

Marathon novices need not be too daunted by the Maritzburg City Marathon, according to both Willows and Kirkman.

“It’s one of the best marathons to qualify for the Two Oceans and Comrades. Even though it’s a double-lapper,” Kirkman said, having run the race four times.

Willows has finished the marathon seven times and has some simple advice for newcomers.

“Obviously it’s a two-lapper, which can be tough but you just need to put your head down and push through, it is not overly demanding,” Willows said.

The Witness Maritzburg City Marathon starts at 5 am on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Runners can do the full and half marathons or the 10 km road race. Trail runners can also take on a figure 8 trail course (five kilometre and 15 km) along the banks of the Umsinduzi River.

For more information and to enter the event, go to www.pmb42.co.za.

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