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Distance running in Africa
February 7, 2014 3:44 AM   Subscribe

I want to run my first marathon. I live in Africa. Where on this content can I find a marathon well-suited to a decent novice runner?

Most important criterion is that the marathon not be too grueling (e.g., the Big Five marathon looks amazing but appears to be far beyond my skill level) and that it be a good experience for a non-elite runner.

Nice-to-haves: beautiful scenery and practicable travel from where I currently live (Lagos, Nigeria).

Not hugely important: entrance fee (within reason) and time of year.

I have googled around but it is a bit hard to sift through the various options without much experience with the running community.
posted by eugenen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Knowing nothing about running, I'd think about staying in West Africa if only to minimize travel time and jet-lag, especially if you're taking a limited time off work (like a weekend) to do this. Accra has a marathon this coming fall, as you have probably found out through Googling, is relatively easy to reach from Lagos, and Ghana is a nice place to spend some time exploring before or after your run if you have the time.

Here
is a South African runners' forum it may be worth asking your question on for more detailed responses and here's a list of upcoming marathons from the Atlas to Mauritius to check out.
posted by mdonley at 4:19 AM on February 7


MarathonGuide may be able to help. Lots of user reviews for international marathons.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:54 AM on February 7


Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.
posted by mrfuga0 at 7:20 AM on February 7


I'm not a marathon runner, but I spent the last five days down south of Cape Town where the Two Oceans Marathon is run, and it's stunning. I just looked at mrfuga0's link, and it appears the only options are a 56 km route or a 21 km route. But the 56 km route takes you over the Chapman's Peak scenic drive, and it is stunning. I can only imagine running the route - hiking in the area was nice enough. It's pretty steep for that portion of the route, but the rest looks pretty flat. For pure beauty, I think you'd be hard pressed to top it.
posted by traveltheworld at 7:38 AM on February 7


It's somewhat closer to you than South Africa, but you may feel (like some do) that Morocco isn't "really Africa"--however, I ran the Marrakech Marathon a couple of years back and loved it. You just missed this year's running, but it's flat, it's relatively cool,* and it's scenic, winding in and out of the city into nearby estates and oases. The only downside was that there wasn't any food provided afterward, but my hotel was close enough to the finish line that I just went there to shower and eat.

*I may have been lucky as it rained the day before the race.
posted by psoas at 9:14 AM on February 7


I'm not sure about the difficulty level, but scenery-wise, I would think you couldn't do much better than the Victoria Falls Marathon.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:47 AM on February 7


A new marathon was held in October, 2013 in Hawassa, Ethiopia. Hopefully they will hold one again in '14. Hawassa, however, is at roughly 5600 feet (1700m) above sea level, so there's that.
posted by workerant at 11:27 AM on February 7


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