South African half-marathons are particularly popular, maybe because this is an exceptionally democratic form of running. Some of the most popular versions of this mini-marathon are run concurrently with major races like the Two Oceans.

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When running inland, prepare for high altitude running conditions and summer heat.


Summer is the perfect time for running half-marathons in South Africa. The weather in most parts is perfect up until June, although the country has its fair share of winter runners as well.

The South African running fraternity – mainly because this is an outdoors country – is huge. In fact, it has become something of a community over the years, and overseas runners are welcome in the midst of even the smallest, most out-of-the-way clubs.

A South African half-marathon is the most democratic form of long-distance running, they say. If you can run 10 kilometres, you can double that distance within a couple of months of intensive training. And if you like the distance, what's to stop you from taking that next step up, to the full marathon?

But there are also runners who prefer half-marathons. Perhaps they don't have the time or inclination to dedicate themselves to the full marathon regime. Marathon training takes up to six months, with long runs scattered throughout the schedule.

Half-marathons require less effort and, ultimately, are more social races. But don't be fooled – there are those who take a half-marathon very seriously indeed, and for them there's no time for sight-seeing along the way. For the rest of us, there's a certain carnival spirit attached to a South African mini-marathon.

The biggest half-marathon race in South Africa is the annual Two Oceans, running at the same time every April as the ultra-marathon version of this famous event. One of the most special half-marathons takes you through the Outeniqua Pass outside George.

But everyone's running half-marathons all over South Africa these days, and it will be no trouble for you to find a race in your vicinity, kit up and hit the road with a bunch of new – and like-minded – buddies.

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