Entries have closed for the inaugural Hemel en Aarde Marathon and a full field of runners is looking forward to a spectacular new addition to road running in the Boland next weekend.
The new event on Saturday February 29 will be held in one of South Africa’s most renowned areas of scenic beauty and runners on the 42,2km “downhill” route from Caledon to Hermanus will be expecting some impressive scenery.
The race website immodestly describes the new race as “the most spectacular marathon in South Africa” with a route that starts “in the picturesque town of Caledon” and takes “runners past some of the most amazing landscapes and across the rolling hills of the Overberg.”
The event takes runners along the “winding road towards Hermanus” with some “breathtaking views.”
The race finishes on the outskirts of the Hermanus at the well-known Whalehaven Winery.
For those competitors who have longer-term plans for longer-distance ultra-marathons later in the year, this event provides a perfect opportunity for qualification and seeding for the Two Oceans and the Comrades which take place in April and June respectively.
The downhill nature of the route, with a net elevation loss of over 250m, means competitors should be able to post some quick times despite a few hills which will test the strength of the entrants in the middle third of the race. The opening 15km are undulating and give a chance for competitors to warm up before the series of three hills will ensure the runners will have to do some work for any PBs (personal bests) that are recorded in this event.
However, the final 15km takes the athletes from the highest point of the race at an elevation of around 380m, down to the finish which is almost at sea level. With the fast downhill sections, the leaders will probably cover the final 15km at an Eliud Kipchoge-like pace of well under three minutes a kilometre
The field has been limited to just over 2 000 runners and entries were sold out surprisingly quickly for a new event.
The event is timed by FinishTime.
Race number collection is at the following venues and times:
Friday, 28th February:
Sportsmans Warehouse (Rondebosch, Tygervalley or Somerset West): 11 am to 6pm;
Whale Coast Mall: 6pm to 9pm;
Overberg High School, Caledon: 6pm to 9pm.
Saturday, 29th February (race day):
Overberg High School, Caledon: 3:45am to 5:30am.