South Africa Outdoor ActivitiesRunning in South Africa (Road Running and Marathons)
The beauty of South Africa's landscapes make for some of the most stunning road running opportunities in the world.
With sea side stretches of road like Chapman’s Peak, and mountain passes like Sir Lowry’s Pass, lovers of the open road have a smorgasbord of breathtaking road running routes.
Whilst the Cape Town coastline offers spectacular routes that combine long flat stretches and challenging climbs, other inland regions provide majestic mountain routes that wind almost endlessly over peaks, through valleys and amidst glorious vineyards. Lovers of running - solo or in competition - will be amply satisfied with the choice of incredible routes that South Africa has to offer.
South Africa has acquired a global reputation for its hosting of the Comrades Marathon. Run every year during June, thousands of participants make the challenging journey from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. The South African Comrades Marathon covers approximately 87 kilometers and it’s no walk in the park. Five major hills, known as the ‘big five’ of the South African Comrades must be conquered before reaching the finish line in Pietermaritzburg.
The somewhat nasty twist on this Comrades Marathon route is the final hill, 7 kilometers from the finish, known as Poly Shorts. Whilst it’s only a 1.8km stretch, you’re rising nearly 100m in altitude! Bearing in mind that by this point, you’ve already done 4 huge climbs and covered 80 kilometers, this last climb proves just too much for many a runner. The stunning scenery and challenging route of this South African Comrades Marathon have helped it create a global appeal which can be seen through the growing numbers of participants from all over the world each year.
Another marathon with global appeal is the Two Oceans Marathon. Hosted in the beautiful sea side city of Cape Town, the Two Oceans marathon attracts some 20 000 participants who willingly take on 56 kilometers of open road and challenging mountain climbs. An interesting feature of the route of Two Oceans Marathon, is as the name indicates, it passes both oceans surrounding the South African shoreline - the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. It is therefore as stunning as it is challenging.
Runners will be begin their journey in Newlands and head out towards Noordhoek. It’s then that the most spectacular portion of the marathon begins - Chapmans Peak. The Two Oceans Marathon route didn’t include Chapmans Peak for a few years because of the danger of regular rock falls that led to the closure of this mountain pass. However, R156 million and a few engineering and construction feats later, Chapmans peak was reopened and was re-included into the Two Oceans Marathon route - much to the delight of regular entrants.
The toughest part of the Two Oceans Marathon, is undoubtedly the mountain climb known as the ‘Suikerbossie Pass’. After you’ve enjoyed the scenery of Chapmans Peak and you’ve passed through the relative flats of Hout Bay, every ounce of remaining energy will be used as you climb this monstrous hill. The screams of supporters will edge you on to the top of this hill where you’re greeted by the welcome sight of the Atlantic Ocean.
The unique landscape and breathtaking scenery that South Africa has to offer will leave you with more choices than you can handle for awesome road running. Why not start your training now and come join us at the next South African Marathon event?
Popular South African Marathons
Where? Pietermaritzburg to Durban
The world’s greatest ultra-marathon, 89 kilometres long, the Comrades is a South African institution, internationally recognised for the body-sapping challenge it poses and the camaraderie it fosters among its thousands of participants. Run between the...
More info and dates: Comrades Marathon
Two Oceans Marathon
Where? Cape Town
A marathon with global appeal is the Two Oceans Marathon. Hosted in the beautiful sea side city of Cape Town, the Two Oceans marathon attracts some 20 000 participants who willingly taken on 56 kilometres of open road and challenging mountain climbs...
More info and dates: Two Oceans Marathon
Knysna Forest Marathon
The Knysna Forest Marathon is held annually during the Knysna Oyster Festival and is always a great success. Participants can take place in either the 42.2km full marathon or the 21.1km half-marathon. This is a favourite on the running calendar...
More info and dates: Knysna Forest Marathon