Spoilt for choice: four marathons to be run in SA this weekend

2009-09-23 00:00

THE long weekend brings two racing opportunities for local runners, starting with tomorrow’s Verulam Four-in-One challenge incorporating the KZN Marathon Championships.

This event replaces the Ethekwini Family Four-in-One race. The Verulam option will cover a similar route using the beachfront, NMR Avenue and going up to Durban North and back to the Cyril Geoghegan Cycling Stadium. A 10 km option uses only the flat beachfront and NMR section of the lap and the marathon requires completion of two laps.

The races start at 6 am and runners should remember that in local championships, the awards are made in five-year age groups so age category tags should be worn. The marathon is also a Two Oceans and Comrades qualifier.

Entries will be taken at the start today from 10 am to 5 pm and tomorrow from 4.30 am. Call Anand Naicker at 083 783 6363.

Saturday’s Ithala Escarpment Challenge is open to runners and walkers and there is also a mountain bike section at 7.50 am. The run starts at 8 am and covers 35 km from the Ntshondwe main camp in the Ithala Game Reserve, Louwsburg.

There are five water points on the course, but runners are required to bring their own water bottles to carry throughout the run, which drops and climbs from 1 000 m to a low of 690 m twice. There is a maximum entry of only 250 runners and anyone leaving the designated path will be subject to immediate disqualification. For more details, contact Ingrid at 073 867 5712.

With over R1,3 million in prize money, the City to City 50 km on Sunday clashes with the Cape Town Marathon, which is one of ASA’s prestigious Nedbank Series events.

City to City is one of the oldest races in South Africa. Initially running between Pretoria and Johannesburg, this time it starts in Centurion and finishes at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. The races start at 6 am with a half-marathon starting simultaneously, but further up the Old Main Road.

In comparison, the Cape Town event is one of the fastest courses in the country and should see a quality battle between some of the region’s top marathoners.

The race is one of less than a dozen on the African continent that allows athletes to qualify for the World Championships and Olympic games. The race starts at 6.30 am and will be broadcast live on SABC TV.

Parents and teachers are advised that the closing date for the sub-youth championship entries is today. The championships take place on October 3 at King’s Park Athletics Stadium at 8 am. Call the KZNA at 031 312 9374 for more details.

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