the 2019 Witness Maritzburg City Marathon, powered by Thirsti

After a difficult “Dress Rehearsal” – what a wonderful “opening night”.

A very difficult build-up to the 2019 Witness Maritzburg City Marathon, powered by Thirsti was followed by an event that fell into place. But it doesn’t “just happen”.  There is an amazing committee that gives their souls to support my dreams. They are nicknamed, among event organisers, The Dream Team. And that they are. Each and every one a volunteer in the purest sense of the word.

Outside of that, there is an amazing support team of Event Medical Services, Prof Mergan Naidoo and three nursing sisters, Traffic Police, South African Police, TWO security companies, Speedfence, The Red Cross, Chiropractors, Ablution Hire and X10siv Waste Management. Add 11 companies and organisations at the refreshment stations, all under command of Mo of Splash Fruit Juices who do our water and energy sachets and then manages the entire refreshment portfolio and route cleaning.

There are just too many people who do too much to mention them all.

Then, to the credit of some of our beleaguered Municipality, there are managers and workers WHO RISKED AL, including, possibly, their careers, if not their lives, to ensure that the route was clean and safe. The tragedy is, I daren’t credit them publically, for fear of compromising them. Isn’t that so sad?


A difficult build up?

Loss of sponsors; “political” interference and sabotage by the Provincial Administration; the continuing disinformation emanating from the KZNA office in contradiction with the ASA rules and instructions; the political struggles within the hosting Msunduzi Municipality; all coupled with my dogged refusal to allow anything to impinge on our goal of putting ATHLETES FIRST.

Athletes don’t help their own cause, either. They enter and don’t pay. They pay and don’t enter. They wait for three months to pass and then moan because the entries have closed. The price is to high but they wait until they’re sold out and then pay premium for a Charity Entry.

In an effort to save costs, Eileen and I took on more than ever personally and it’s taken its toll on our health. It will take a bit of time to recover but it was worth it, one more time.

Some interesting stats, in that heat. Nearly 2000 athletes qualified for Comrades using the Mat to Mat times and 2050 qualified for Two Oceans. What we found disquieting was the psychological effect of the 10 minute faster Comrades qualifying time. As it used to be when the time limit was 4:30, and people used to race in and collapse over the line, we experienced the same this year. Very unlike the gentle 5 hour finishes of the recent past.

Of the participants in the Marathon, 23% were female. 51% of the half marathon participants and 67 % of the 10km were female.

Maritzburg City Marathon brought over 100 foreigners from 17 countries, over 400 people from all 8 of our provinces outside KZN and over 4000 KZN visitors, to our city.

Anyone ever want to know what it takes and costs to organise an event like the Maritzburg City Marathon? Come and tarry with me a while. Bring lots of coffee and a calculator. We’ll start with R11500.00 for safety bins up to R600k for T shirts.

Thank you to each and every one who organised, helped, took part or supported. You are all amazing.

And my heartfelt thanks to the most amazing and hardest working of them all, my Wife, Eileen. My greatest supporter and critic, without whom none of this would be possible.

John Hall

Race Director