Being beyond disappointed and a little sad to hear the news that one of my favorite runs the Martizburg City Marathon is no more. I have only run this race twice. The 10km and this year braved the 21km and received the silver version of the very impressive medal.
One of the best organised races by Mr AG Hall and his team, one could see the passion and love he has for the sport as it reflected in the professionalism of the races that he organised. Running through the scenic Pietermaritzburg, passing some of its land marks like City Hall, through the suburbs of the city to finish at the beautiful Golden Horse Casino. This is a real loss for the city of Pietermaritzburg as this run attracted people not just locally from Kwa Zulu Natal, but runners throughout South Africa and as far as Argentina attended this iconic race.
This run didn’t just cater for those hoping for comrades qualifiers, but had something for everyone. Starting with the 10km, half marathon and marathon, it also catered for the trail runners and the small ones with mini runs and care for them over the weekend. Cold water and Powerade and even food to help the marathon runners complete in optimal condition. They were very involved with the community with the various charities that they supported to the shoe collection campaign to help other athletes.
With all the above that not only brings visitors to the city but also boosts the city in the running community, it was not well supported by the local municipality, except for a few individuals. It is understandable that a group of a few cannot carry this responsibility solely without the support of the community. The planning and execution of all the admin was done by Mr Hall and his team at great personal cost to themselves.
Some of the other reasons listed on runners guide was Pedestrians and motorist being inconsiderate and impatient towards some of the runners and even the athletes themselves. Something I have not really come in contact was runners apparently running without registering or using numbers that were not their own. Another sad fact that was stated was runners not following the rules of the sport, but with any sport there will be a few bad apples.
This is not the first event I have seen disappear out of this little town. With Hulamin Swift that was also not held last year cause of lack of support. Hopefully there will be another brave soul that will have the same love and spirit Mr Hall and the Maritzburg city Marathon team had to bring another event of this caliber to sleepy hollow.