I can see why trail runners enjoy running trails. Even though this race was registered as a road run, it was definitely worth it. This was the second Umgeni Marathon I have attended, last year it was held at the beautiful Midmar dam and this year at its new venue in Baynesfield Recreational Club. Keeping up with the tradition of having it every March during water week, the location was very suitable.
They had also outsourced the registration to a 3rd party but it definitely went a lot smoother than last week’s catastrophe. It was less complicated with no additional costs. A comment was made why we had to buy licenses, if you were an unlicensed runner, if a lot of this run was off-road, but that is small thing compared to other charges that might have sneaked in.
Race day there is a definite change in the air with the seasons as there was a slight nip in the air with the fast approach of autumn but it was welcomed. There was plenty of parking and a good thing that the race was capped at 1800 runners, I am not sure if would have handled more than that.
The run itself was amazing, the change of different scenery really didn’t make you think of the distance or the heat as the sun finally made it way out. It wasn’t too flat, too Hilly it felt perfectly balanced. There were portions of the run that was in shaded tree groves, next too farm land and then the most beautiful part next to a small stream with loads of shade.
Even at the end they had ample snacks and drinks to help runners, with a range of fruits and drinks. There were stalls where you get some food at a reasonable price, as well as some sports attire that you could purchase in the pop up stalls they had. There were a few comments on social media complaining about the change of venue, but I for one really liked this one more than Midmar.
What was really nice for me was that they had set up games and activities for the runners and their families afterwards. That was a fun twist and if I had known would have brought my kids along and made it a half day.
I really did enjoy this race and loved the new venue and the route. I am always thankful for my gal pals that ran with me, they always make me laugh and have fun. I will definitely participate in this run again. Thank you to the organizers and sponsors. Photo credits to Diane and Maria (haha)