Two deadlines, exactly a month apart, are looming for KZN marathon runners. On Tuesday (April 2) entries close for the Durban City Marathon. Exactly a month later on May 2 is the last day for Comrades Marathon hopefuls to submit their qualifying and seeding times.
The two are closely linked because next weekend’s Durban City Marathon is considered by many to the be the best event left for those runners still looking to get a good seeding for the 90km run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on June 9, 2019.
The Durban City Marathon on Sunday, April 7 offers a 42,2km distance for those looking to get their Comrades times, as well as a half-marathon 21,1km distance and a 10km event.
There are many factors which make the Durban City Marathon a good option for those who have not yet been able to achieve a good enough qualifying time and those who are looking to improve on their seeding.
The most important factor is the route. The beachfront course which starts and finishes in the Kings Park Athletics Stadium precinct has no major hills, which makes for a fast course and the organisers are expecting some quick times. That in turns means quicker qualifying and so potentially a better seeding batch for the start at Durban City Hall in June.
A second feature is the altitude. You cannot get better than a beachfront course and the Durban City Marathon is the only remaining Comrades approved qualifying event which is run so close to sea level in its entirety.
The marathon route, at 42,2km, is also the shortest qualifying distance possible which means no extra fatigue in the legs for runners who still need to qualify and want to recover in time for the 90km run on June 9.
And finally, that recovery time is crucial and the Durban City Marathon gives Comrades runners a nine-week recovery window before tackling the arduous 90km route to Pietermaritzburg.
For runners who have already qualified for the Comrades, the Durban City Marathon is also possibly the last practical opportunity to improve seeding times and a perfect event to test equipment under race conditions. The flat course also provides a good opportunity for athletes to use the race as a fully supported long training run and with enough recovery time before the Comrades.
The Durban City Marathon is organised by Phantane Athletics Club and spokesman for the club, Mdu Khumalo, believes this event is the perfect race for Comrades hopefuls.
“We have put this race together with the aim of helping runners achieve fast times,” said Khumalo this week. “The course is flat and fast so anybody who is worried about the Comrades qualifying time should have the best possible chance of going under 4:50.
“There will also be 13 water tables on the route so runners can expect the best possible assistance.”
This year Comrades hopefuls need to finish the standard marathon distance in under four hours 50 minutes to qualify which means a pace of six minutes 52 per kilometre will be enough to qualify.
Online entries for the Durban City Marathon close at midnight on April 2 (entries through www.webtickets.co.za). Athletes can also drop off hand-delivered entries at the KZNA offices at King’s Park Athletics stadium on weekdays between 8am and 4pm until Tuesday April 2 (with proof of payment).
Late entries for all the Durban City Marathon events will be taken at race number collection at King’s Park Athletics Stadium on Friday April 5 (10am to 4pm) or Saturday April 6 (10am to 2pm).
Hand delivered entries will also be accepted at all Pick n Pay stores, including PnP Clothing, PnP Liquor and PnP Express. Entries will be taken until the close of business for each store on April 2.
For more race details and bank details visit the website www.durbancitymarathon.co.za.