Runners and walkers are gearing up for one of the year’s competitive racing highlights, the Goss and Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, 29 October. This incredible road race – which includes a 21.1km half-marathon and 42.2km marathon – is designed to ensure all competitors can take full advantage of the aptly-named Sapphire Coast, with the race route passing along the beautiful South Coast shoreline.
“We are very excited to announce that this year’s route will resume the original format with the free train ride available to all competitors,” explained Amanzimtoti Athletics Club (AAC) chairman, Alan Payne. “Unfortunately, heavy rains last year caused damage to the railway line but we have been given the all-clear from PRASA for this year’s event.”
Participants are advised to arrive at Hutchison Park, Amanzimtoti by no later than 4.40am to reach the train station, which is a 20-minute walk, as the train departs at 5am sharp. Competitors will travel along the coast to the start of the half-marathon run at Ifracombe, and then on to the start of the marathon at Scottburgh.
Starting at Scottburgh at 6am, the race takes runners through the town and out towards Park Rynie for approximately five kilometres before turning back north along the old South Coast Road. The route then passes by Scottburgh again and on to Umkomaas and Ilfracombe, the starting point of the half-marathon. Competitors will then go through Umgababa, then to Winklespruit and finally, Amanzimtoti. This is one of the few point-to-point races on the KwaZulu-Natal calendar and is considered one of the most spectacular courses, spurring runners on with incredible ocean views.
The Goss and Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon serves as a qualifier for both the Comrades Marathon and Old Mutual Two Ocean Marathon with a total prize purse of R39 400 divided among category winners. For the first 2 000 entrants, marathon runners will receive long-sleeve shirts with half-marathon participants receiving short-sleeve T-shirts. As with all AAC events, organisers will strive to ensure this is a litter-free race, encouraging runners not to discard plastic sachets on the road.
Sapphire Coast Tourism chairman, Monique de Kock, said they were looking forward to being involved in another well-supported and organised event.
“The Goss and Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon is a true reflection of the Sapphire Coast lifestyle which includes a passion for the region’s natural beauty and year-round temperate climate, as well as outdoor activities that this climate encourages,” said De Kock. “Entries opened at the beginning of July and we’ve already seen a large number of runners signing up to compete in this ever-growing event. We’re also excited to welcome out-of-town supporters who will get to enjoy the magnificent Sapphire Coast and all it has to offer.”
Some of the region’s highlights include:
• The world-class scuba diving destination, Aliwal Shoal, a fossilised sand dune 5km off Umkomaas river mouth.
• Swimming, surfing or fishing at one of the many stunning beaches.
• Birdwatching and wildlife viewing at the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary or one of several nature reserves.
• A taste of local history and culture as well as handmade arts and crafts at Adams Mission College.
• Fantastic accommodation including luxury guest lodges, bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, self-catering chalets and campsites.
Anyone wanting to enter this year’s Goss and Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon must visit the website www.eventtiming.co.za/gossbalfe and complete the online form. Entry tags and race packs can be collected on race weekend at Hutchison Park, Amanzimtoti on Saturday 28 October from 10am to 4pm or on Sunday 29 October from 3.30am to 4.40am at the Civic Centre.
All unlicensed athletes must purchase a temporary license at R30 per entry. Entrance fee for 42.2 km run is R200 and entrance fee for 21.1 km walk/run is R160. The age limit is 16 years on race day for the 21.1km event and 20 years for the 42.2km event with parental consent required for all competitors under 18 years.
This is strictly pre-entry and the closing date for entry is 19 October. For more information, visit www.totiac.co.za
Times for race day
5am: Train departs
6am: Race starts for 21.1km and 42.2km
9.30am: Prize-giving for 21.1km
11am: Prize-giving for 42.2km
For more information of the Sapphire Coast, visit www.sapphirecoasttourism.co.za or the Sapphire Coast Tourism page on Facebook or https://www.facebook.com/totitourism/