Marathons – a subject close to the hearts of many people – those who have pitted themselves over distances from as short as 13.1 miles, a half marathon, to a full marathon of 26.2 miles and beyond to much greater distances. We give the history and will then present some of the more extreme marathons – just in case you feel so inclined.
History: The marathon race commemorates the run of the Athenian soldier Pheidippides who legend tells us ran from a battlefield near Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., a distance of approximately 25 miles, bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Pheidippides collapsed and died at the end of his historic run.
However there has long been debate about the accuracy of this story which we will not discuss here – save it to say that when the modern Olympic games were started in 1896 the marathon was the last event of the games and was fittingly won by a Greek named Spiridos ‘Spiros’ Louis in a time of 2:58:50 hours. The distance was not standardised until the 1924 games when atletes ran 26.22 miles, or 42.196 kms.
Extreme marathons: with over 800 marathons run every year there are a number of extreme versions. Most marathons come under the jurisdiction of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Runners. We will over the next few days give some examples of some of the more extreme marathons.
The Addo Elephant Trail runs: not strictly a marathon in the sense of distance as you can run a 100 mile, 50 mile or 25 mile route. The fifth running of this race will be held on Saturday 2nd May 2009. The 100 miler is run through the Addo Elephant Park, about 50 miles from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and winds its way over the mountains into the Sundays River Valley before crossing the escarpment of the Zuurberg Mountains to finish at the Addo Elephant Park main rest camp.You have to complete the race in 30 hours. The 50 miler and 25 miler routes are run in the same location.
The cost of entering the races varies – the 100 miler is 950 rand, the 50 miler is 550 rand and the 25 miler is 350 rand. For further details go to the website www.extrememarathons.com
Below is the schedule and we have included a vdeo from bradke – not of the race but of some of the ‘traffic’ you might meet as you run!
Friday, 01 May 2009
From 14h00: Registration for at the Lapa, Addo Elephant National Park, Main Rest Camp. Drop off bags to be taken to registration by 17h00 for distribution to the Checkpoint Captains. (Drop bags will not be accepted after 17h00)
Saturday, 02 May 2009
05h30: Complimentary coffee/tea at the Kirkwood Hotel
06h00: Start of the 100 Miler, 50Miler and 25Miler in front of the Kirkwood Hotel.
Sunday, 03 May 2009
06h00: Cut-off of Silver Buckle, 100Miler.
12h00: Cut-off of Bronze Buckle, 100Miler. Finish of the 100Miler, 50Miler and 25Miler at Addo Elephant National Park Rest Camp.
14h00: Prize Giving.