The KZN Best of Best Marathon starts a crowded weekend of Durban beachfront sporting activity early on Saturday morning.
The beachfront has become a popular sporting playground for the fit and famous since it was revamped in 2010, and this weekend highlights the success of the upgrade with runners, canoeists and triathletes joining the normal weekend throng.
The Best of Best Marathon starts at the King’s Park Athletics Stadium at 5am on Saturday morning and sees entrants chasing PBs as well as Comrades and Two Oceans qualifying times as they complete two circuits of a loop that takes in the beachfront and Durban North suburbs.
Just as the fastest runners are completing their 42,2km, 21,1km and 10km races, the Dusi Canoe Marathon spectators crowding into Blue Lagoon will be welcoming the early arrivals after their the iconic three-day journey from Pietermaritzburg via the Mgeni and Msundusi rivers.
After the spray and dust has settled on Saturday’s action, the triathletes from the Durban Ultra Triathlon will be in action on Sunday morning as they swim, run and paddle along the beachfront.
The KZN Best of Best Marathon course sees runners quickly head from the start at King Park Athletics Stadium onto the beachfront promenade at Suncoast, before heading across the Mgeni River into the leafy Durban North suburbs. The 21km and 42km entrants will meander through suburbia before heading back to Kings Park where the half marathon runners will peel off and allow the full marathon competitors to head off on a second lap.
The leading 21,1km runners will take a little more than an hour for their efforts while the top full marathon runners will be aiming to dip under 2:30 for their undulating run.
For many of the full-distance entrants there will be an extra edge to their morning run as they will be looking to finish with a sub-five or sub-4.50 qualifying time, which will be good enough to secure a spot in the Two Oceans or Comrades ultra-marathons respectively.
The Two Oceans qualifying closes on March 9 which means for many of Saturday’s runners, the Best of Best will be their last attempt to qualify for the famous Cape Town ultra-marathon. Comrades hopefuls have until May 4 to submit their qualifying times so those who miss the cut-off time should be able to squeeze in another qualifying attempt in March or April.
The event is timed by FinishTime and results will begin to become available at results.finishtime.co.za soon after the first runners cross the line.