Athletes will be aiming for new frontiers when they travel to Sasolburg on Saturday to take part in the 26th Sasol Marathon.
For the fleet-footed speedsters the 42,2km race offers a chance of provincial title as the event doubles as the Free State Marathon Championships. And for those whose primary goal is simply finishing within a reasonable time, the event provides the opportunity to qualify for the ultra-marathons later this year.
2020 is the third year in a row the Sasol Marathon will be used to determine the Free State Champion.
Last year Talimo Monesa (Hollywood Bets) produced a race-winning performance to cross the line in 2:23:42, just 21 seconds ahead of Thabo Mataung (Scaw Harriers). 33-year-old Godfrey Ramakone from Eskom club in Bloemfontein finished third, another seven seconds off the pace, to claim the Free State title. Monesa and Mataung are from Lesotho and Gauteng respectively so did not qualify for the provincial title.
In 2018, Tiitetso Ramokheseng (MiWay) was a comfortable winner in a time of 2:24:49.
Monesa, Mataung, Ramakone and Ramokheseng have all not pre-entered the marathon, so a new-look podium seems likely, although all four may still enter until the morning of the two-lap race around the streets of Sasolburg.
For those entrants who are aiming for a more sedate pace, the full-distance marathon event provides a great opportunity for qualification and seeding for South Africa’s two premier ultra-marathons, the Comrades and Two Oceans.
Situated just a few kilometres south of the Vaal River and less than an hour’s drive from central Johannesburg, the fast and flat course of the Sasol Marathon provides a perfect opportunity for Gauteng athletes to complete their qualifying requirements.
Comrades hopefuls need to complete the two laps in less than four hours and 50 minutes, while potential Two Oceans competitors have five hours to complete the 42,2km distance.
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 closed but race pack collection and late entries will be taken 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, and at the DP de Villiers Stadium in Sasolburg on Saturday, February 1, from 4:30am to 6am.
This event is timed by FinishTime