The 26th annual Sasol Marathon in Sasolburg on February 1 doubles up as the Free State marathon championships, but most entrants will be more interested in the marathon as a means to an end rather than potential provincial glory.
For the elite barcode-thin speedsters aiming to race around the streets of Sasolburg at just over three minutes a kilometre, the lure of a provincial title will be a huge incentive and spectators can expect a fierce battle up front.
However, for those aiming to complete the 42,2km distance at a more realistic pace approaching anything up to a sedate seven minutes a kilometre, the focus is likely to be on posting a qualifying time for South Africa’s two major ultra marathons.
The Two Oceans takes place on April 11 and the Comrades Marathon is on June 14, which means a comfortable recovery time of 10 weeks after the Sasol Marathon for those runners planning on the Cape Town event, and 19 weeks for runners hoping to make the journey from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
Situated just a few kilometres south of the Vaal River and less than an hour’s drive from central Johannesburg, the Sasol Marathon provides a great opportunity for the multitude of Gauteng runners to tick off their qualifying requirements on a relatively quick course.
The popular Running Mann website rates the Sasol Marathon as an event he would “highly recommend as a qualifier.” He goes on to describe the course as “a fast and flat marathon that gives you a two-lap tour of (Sasolburg).” Adding that there is “plenty of shade along the way” and “some spectacular water points.”
The popular event starts and finishes at the DP de Villiers Stadium at 6am and runners have the choice of the two-lap 42,2km standard marathon distance, a one-lap 21,1km or a 10km, while there is also a 5km fun-run option.
Online entries are via Webtickets at http://bit.ly/SasolMar20Ent or at Pick n Pay stores. Online entries are due to close on Thursday, February 23. Race pack collection and late entries are at Sasolburg Athletic Club on Thursday January 30 from 2pm to 6pm and the day before the event on Friday January 31 from 10am to 6pm as well as Saturday February 1 from 4:30am.
This event is timed by FinishTime.