Running, swimming or canoeing a marathon in South Africa gets you up close and personal with the exquisite landscape, and puts you among world-class competitors. And when the race is done, there are plenty of other options – adventures, wildlife and new friends.

Did you know?

Our wonderful summer weather patterns make for perfect marathon racing – even when it rains.

South Africa is marathon country. Ask any of those international athletes, young and old, who come here in the summer (sometimes in winter too) and paddle our rivers, cycle our wilderness areas and run, run, run for days through our wide-angle landscapes.

And when they arrive, these long-distance athletes find scores of helpful and like-minded clubs and organisations associated with marathons in South Africa. When you're a marathon competitor, you belong to that world-wide club that likes to indulge its endorphin levels by pounding the pavements, mountains, roads and valleys of a country.

There are any number of legendary long-distance challenges, including the Comrades Marathon (run in June), the Two Oceans Marathon (May), the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the Fish River Canoe Marathon, The Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the heart-stopping Cape Epic Cycle Marathon.

But there are many smaller, often just-as-challenging, marathon events in South Africa, which is a fabulous outdoor sports country.

The trick is to make the choice: in which kind of heavenly landscape would you like to exercise your marathon skills? Would you like to cycle through snow-capped mountain scenarios, run in the lush, summer flatlands through vast fields of sunflowers, jog through a game reserve or forest, paddle on rushing waters down a river in KwaZulu-Natal or indulge your visual senses around the Cape Peninsula?

And then, when it's over and time for sore muscles and relaxation, you find yourself with new friends and an experience-packed travel itinerary throughout South Africa that makes this all the trip of a lifetime – well worth the long haul and the blisters.