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Athletes and amateurs alike are helping to save the environment and support local communities by taking part in marathons around the continent. Henry Bevan gives us the lowdown on 10 physical contests to tackle on your next African adventure 1 Malawi Impact Marathon 21-27 May 2018, Lake Malawi, Malawi Based on the shores of the [...] The post Running wild appeared first on Travel Africa Magazine. ...

Running wild


Athletes and amateurs alike are helping to save the environment and support local communities by taking part in marathons around the continent. Henry Bevan gives us the lowdown on 10 physical contests to tackle on your next African adventure

1 Malawi Impact Marathon
21-27 May 2018, Lake Malawi, Malawi
Based on the shores of the serene Lake of Stars, this marathon is a great example of the positive impact that these events can have on the environment and the community. Participants are able to witness where their fundraising goes and spend a week living with the locals, volunteering at projects and relaxing at night. This is not about winning; it’s about forming bonds with the fellow racers and the people of Malawi.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); half-marathon (21km); and 10km.

2 Kilimanjaro Marathon
4 March 2018, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Unlike the other races on this list, the Kilimanjaro Marathon is about having a party. Local bands play alongside the starting line and crowds of locals cheer the runners on. Many of Africa’s best athletes take part, and under the shadow of the famous mountain, participants can counteract their carbon footprint by donating money to Carbon Tanzania. Once across the finish line, most celebrate by cracking open a cold one.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); half-marathon (21km); 10km wheelchair and hand cycle; and a fun run (approximately 5km).

3 Victoria Falls Marathon
1 July 2018, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The spectacular Victoria Falls is the setting for this marathon. Runners race between Zimbabwe and Zambia, crossing the border on the famous Victoria Falls Bridge. There is no time for a passport stamp as the course charges into the Zambezi National Park before finishing on Kazungula Road. Runners are asked to donate books, pens and anything else the local schools need.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); half-marathon (21km); and 7.5km.

4 Uganda International Marathon
3 June 2018, Masaka, Uganda
The Uganda International Marathon is not kind to personal bests. A hilly course with the terrain alternating between dirt roads and sand, runners are tested and rewarded with Uganda’s best views. The money raised supports the local Masaka region, promoting the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, such as gender equality and ending poverty.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); half-marathon (21km); and 10km.

5 The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon
22-23 September 2018, Cape Town, South Africa
Taking place annually on South Africa’s Heritage Day, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is Africa’s only Gold Star marathon. The route also gives competitors an enviable city tour — they start and finish on the V&A Waterfront, passing monuments reflecting the mother city’s good and bad history.
Distances  Full marathon (42.2km); half-marathon (22km); 12km; 10km; and a fun run (4.2km).

6 The Egyptian Marathon
12 January 2018, Luxor, Egypt
Legend states that until Oedipus answered a riddle correctly Luxor’s ancient cousin, Thebes, was blighted by a sphinx. Today, ancient stone sphinxes overlook the contenders in Egypt’s mothership marathon. It is a run through history as the route winds along the Valley of the Kings, past Tutankhamun’s tomb and back into Luxor’s modern metropolis.
Distances  Half-marathon (22.2km); 12.3km; and a fun run (5km).

7 Two Oceans Marathon
30 and 31 March 2018, Cape Town, South Africa
Two Oceans is one of the world’s most beautiful ultra-marathons. Set in the Cape Peninsula, the 56km circular route encapsulates both the Atlantic and Indian oceans as well as some stunning woodland scenery. For the less fit, a half-marathon and international friendship run are also available.
Distances  Ultra-marathon (56km); half-marathon (21km); trail run (24km and 12km); and fun runs (2.1km and 5.6km).

8 Comrades Marathon
10 June 2018, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
The oldest ultra-marathon in the world demands respect. Starting in Pietermaritzburg and finishing in Durban by way of an 89km detour, Comrades creates blisters, although this year’s contestants should consider themselves lucky — they will be running the race downhill. Through the pain, a rare camaraderie forms between those crazy enough to attempt this.
Distance  89km.

9 Safaricom Marathon
TBC, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
People often run marathons for charity, but Safaricom puts its conservation and community aims front and centre. Set in the shadow of Mount Kenya, participants race across open plains past wildlife, but don’t expect it to be a jog in the park — at an altitude of 1670m, runners have to earn their funds.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); and half-marathon (21km).

10 Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon
27 May 2018, Sierra Leone
Nicknamed ‘the world’s craziest but most worthwhile marathon’, this route weaves along a dirt-road course through dense jungle. It’s tough — but supporters from the local villages spur you on with high fives and cheers. In the three days prior to the race, participants spend time helping with community projects and playing football with the locals. Tears of joy never felt so good.
Distances  Full marathon (42km); half-marathon (21km); 10km; and 5km.

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