The toughest marathon in SA

2008-11-28 00:00

THE Annual Sani Stagger is the feature race of the weekend and offers both half-marathon and full-marathon distances.

Although this year the up run half-marathon has been dropped from the schedule, the extremely taxing but scenic marathon commences from outside the Sani Pass Hotel at 6 am. After an initial undulating seven kilometres, the real challenge begins as runners climb the alpine switchback up through the South African border post to the top of the pass and the Lesotho border.

Apart from it being the location of the highest pub in the southern hemisphere, the view from the top of the pass is spectacular and a special reward for all who compete in these events.

Half-marathon runners are provided with 4x4 lifts to the top of the pass, but then join the marathon runners for the quad-hammering free-fall drop back to the hotel, which is something that their legs will remind them of for the following week. There are few more scenic, spectacular, or strength-sapping races in the province, and this is one that every runner should add to his or her belt at some stage.

The marathon is a qualifying race for the Comrades and Two Oceans, but must rank as the hardest in the country. Half-marathon entries are limited by the number of vehicles able to conquer the pass road to the top, and a combined limit of 500 is applied to both events.

Phone Trish Crawley to confirm the availability of entries at 083 447 0766.

• Runners should note that the BMG Stainbank Cup 15 km race, hosted by Yellowwood Park Athletic Club, is not this Sunday as indicated by some fixture lists, but instead holds its traditional date of December 7.

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