South Africa hosts some of the world’s largest marathons and half-marathons. If you’re a runner and you’ve always wanted to visit South Africa, enter one of these races and have the holiday of a lifetime while you recover afterwards.

Did you know?

South African runner Wally Hayward won the Comrades Marathon five times, and finished the 90km race at the age of 80 in 1989.

Some of the annual marathons to consider entering in South Africa include the Comrades Marathon, the Two Oceans Marathon, the Knysna Forest Marathon, the Cape Town Marathon and the Loskop Ultra Marathon.

The Comrades Marathon generally takes place in early June each year. The 90km race, which was first held in 1921, is run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, with the starting point alternating each year.

This race is always held in June, when the province of KwaZulu-Natal typically enjoys comfortable conditions: warm without being too humid, and with little chance of rain.

The Two Oceans Marathon is held on the first weekend of April every year. Popularly known as 'the world’s most beautiful marathon', this 56km race starts and finishes in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, taking runners around the spectacular Cape Peninsula and along scenic stretches such as Chapman’s Peak.

There is also a 21km half-marathon for those who prefer shorter runs.

The 50km Loskop Ultra Marathon in Mpumalanga is generally held within three weeks of the Two Oceans Marathon, so if you’re keen to complete two marathons in South Africa in one trip, this may be a good combination to consider.

The 42km Knysna Forest Marathon is held in July every year and is known for its beautiful starting point inside a forest. This race is limited to around 800 runners because of logistics, so it’s important to book your spot well in advance if you are interested.

The 42km Cape Town Marathon in September gives runners a chance to enjoy some fresh spring air and qualify for more popular marathons, such as the Comrades.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Athletics South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 5800

What will it cost

Entering marathons in South Africa will cost a few hundred rand for international runners.

Where to stay

Start searching for accommodation close to the start of the marathon as soon as you’ve decided to enter, as demand for that particular period will be high.

What to eat

Italian restaurants are very popular in South Africa, so you’ll easily find somewhere to carbo-load before your race.

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