South Africa's ultra-marathons are a natural match for this diverse country. It doesn't hurt that they are well-organised and show you some of the greatest scenery in the world. Sign up for one of these races. You'll dine out on the stories forever.

Did you know?

The Comrades Marathon is South Africa's oldest ultra-marathon, having first taken place on 24 May 1921.

South Africa's ultra-marathons generally take the form of cycling or running events, massively supported by locals and foreigners alike. They make their favourite race an annual highlight and a celebration of the outdoor sporting life.

Ultra-marathons in South Africa take place in an astounding array of natural backgrounds – the country has the space to allow you to indulge your long-distance dreams.

Who hasn't heard about the Comrades Marathon, that institution among South Africa's ultra-marathons? Go into the history of this grand old race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and you will be astounded at the depth of anecdotes going back more than 80 years.

Cape Town hosts ultra-marathons on both bike and foot, and it's always a festival to go south and compete in the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Argus Cycle Tour or, indeed, the gruelling Cape Epic.

The Cape Peninsula has her best foot forward for the athletes on the day - albeit a tad windy at times. But no matter, the heart is pounding, the rhythms are set, the body machine is working and the crowds are cheering – it's all good.

Widely televised, watched on the course by hundreds of thousands of fans, family and supporters, the competitors in these events make up the huge family spirit that exists between an athlete, the stunning settings and the relevant sport.

All along the way you will meet a great variety of people with one thing in common – that wide smile of welcome on their faces.