On the day, runners will pass six significant heritage sites on the marathon route, including Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the third largest hospital in the world), Walter Sisulu Square (birthplace of 1955’s Freedom Charter), Regina Mundi Catholic Church (also referred to as “the people’s church” due to its role in the anti-apartheid struggle), Morris Isaacson High School, Vilakazi Street and the Hector Pieterson Memorial.
“Running is obviously about achieving your goals,” says Bandile Mngoma, Sponsorships Manager at Old Mutual Emerging Markets, “but the Soweto Marathon is a special race in a special part of South Africa. We hope you achieve your goals, but we also hope you take the time to enjoy yourself and take in the stories that make Soweto great.”
Five ways to savour Soweto:
1. Slow down, take in the sights
The Old Mutual Soweto Marathon has a cut-off time of six hours, three-and-a-half hours for the half marathon and two hours for the 10km. There is more than enough time to stop and take pictures of your Soweto Marathon experience and show others what they are missing out on.
2. Learn a little
The marathon route will pass the six landmarks mentioned above as well as the Oppenheimer Memorial, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s current home (please don’t ring the doorbell!) and the Jabulani Hostels. Before the race, do a little research on each of these important sights to enrich your race-day experience.
3. Time your run
Race timing will be done via the ChampionChip race-timing chip. Runners must use their own chip for the 42.2km, 21.1km and 10km runs. If you don’t own a chip, you will be given the option to buy one or hire one before the race. The ChampionChip is the chip you might have used at Comrades, but is NOT the same chip used at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.
4. Arrive early
This avoids last-minute panic and problems and, perhaps more importantly, gives you an opportunity to go to the loo before the race.
5. Have fun
The People’s Race is all about connecting South Africans. Get out there, have a blast, and run for more than yourself.
Old Mutual, which returns as the title sponsor of the Soweto Marathon this year, believes that the race, the town and the people of the city will combine to provide a day to remember for all participants.
“We are extremely excited about being associated with the event once more,” says Mngoma. “The organisers have gone out of their way to plan a route that will allow runners to get the most out of their visit to Soweto. We are certain that local and international athletes will have the running experience of their lifetime.”
The marathon will start and end at the Expo Centre Johannesburg (NASREC) on November 1, 2015.
The registration date has been moved out until midnight on October 19, 2015 to allow athletes still wanting to participate in the 10km, 21.1km or 42.2km more time.
Runners can register at www.sowetomarathon.com or manually at the following centres: Orlando Community Centre; The Sweat Shop, Dunkeld West Shopping Centre, Fourways Crossing, Bedford Arcade, and South Downs Shopping Centre; Run A Way Store in Lynnwood Ridge; Central Gauteng Athletics in Germiston; The Runners Store, Tramshed Shopping Centre in Pretoria; and Running – Inn in Brookline Centre in Pretoria.