Where to raise your heart rate race the clock, sprint for the finish line or put yourself to the test these races will tick one of these boxes.
TORPEDO SWIMRUN | CAPE TOWN
Originating in Sweden, this is an upgrade on the traditional triathlon concept and – when properly done – one hell of an adventure. Essentially, it’s a solo or team race with multiple running and swimming legs with varying distance options, ranging between 6.5 km and 20 km. Swims happen in the sea or in natural waterways and a lot of the running is off-road. You do it all in the same gear, often wearing a lightweight wetsuit, which is compulsory for cold-water swims such as those that happen in the Atlantic. Athletes need to be fit for sure, but it’s endurance, a real passion for meeting your goals as well as being able to stave off the cold and the cramps that will get you over the finish line. The Cape Town event that’s been postponed until November this year covers 16 km and is a team race starting in Sandy Bay and ending on Clifton 4th Beach – fortunately only 3 km of the total distance is in the frigid water, but still!
COMRADES MARATHON | PIETERMARITZBURG TO DURBAN
After the unprecedented pause posed by the pandemic, the most legendary road running race in Africa is back in a never-before calendar spot. It’s happening on 28 August, and while it’s too late to join this year’s limited field of 20 000 runners (entries closed in May), it’s always been a memorable day out for spectators – whether watching the heavy-legged brave hearts drag themselves up those tough hills, or braaiing on the side of the road offering encouraging cheers. This year will be the 47th down run, which stretches from Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Moses Mabhida Stadium – that’s roughly 90 km of discipline as well as perseverance, and sometimes heartache, too. This year’s race will earn participants a special (once-off) larger-than-normal commemorative medal for the 95th Comrades, and the first since the pandemic. For top-level athletes, the incentive is huge: The first man and woman home each get R260K in prize money, with a total purse of R2 272 000.
TABLE MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE & 13 PEAKS | CAPE TOWN
Trail running is the ultimate antidote to being cooped up all winter – or during a pandemic. You get to raise your heart rate, get your endorphins pumping and bliss out on some of the most scenic mountain trails. The Table Mountain Challenge – now in its 18th year – is scheduled for 25 September and has options for expert trail runners who can do a 44 km route, and a lighter option that covers half that distance. Either way, you’ll sweat, your calves will burn and you will likely never forget it.
RUN YOUR CITY | JOBURG
This Heritage Day (24 September) you can celebrate by joining an easy-peasy fun-filled jaunt of 10 km with thousands of enthused and enthusiastic fellow Joburgers. Do it for the joy of exploring the city on foot with a bit of a sweat and maybe a compulsion to race towards the finish line. Some will dress up, many will simply walk, but it’s a gathering of like-minded people coming together for the thrill of mass participation. Starting from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown at 8 am, it takes in a number of iconic City of Gold landmarks, with plenty of socialising and coffee-fuelled breakfasts to reward yourself with after the adrenaline has been spiked and your go-go-go urges quelled. There are medals for all finishers, entertainment and some refreshment stations along the way, a gift from sponsors, as well as a celebratory T-shirt for all participants.
IRONMAN AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIP | GQEBERHA
PE has long been HQ to one of Africa’s most gruelling urban races – the hard-core ironman triathlon that combines some serious legwork on the road and in the saddle of your bike, plus a swim in Nelson Mandela Bay. Now sponsored by Isuzu, the endurance event offers qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Which is good reason to start training – hard. The next African Championship has been confirmed for 5 March 2023, so there’s still time to break all your personal bests and ensure you qualify to be part of the action.
Words by Keith Bain
Photography: Courtesy Images