New course to excite ultra athletes, and a fast 21k

The sporting fraternity can expect an exciting influx of runners to Buffalo City in early spring.

Runners have only nine weeks left before epic marathon Picture: FILE

The return of a Legends compendium of races in 2017, following the disappointment when the 2016 chapter of a growing event was cancelled, is creating a great deal of interest among coaches of South Africa’s ever increasing ultramarathon brigade.

The race has been a good deal of re-packaging for the ultra, and many runners who ran before will not recognise the 68km ultra or the half marathon courses.

Sunday September 24 may seem like a long way off but it is only nine weeks to go and training for the 68 or 21km distance each week is critical.

Training to race a standard marathon or half that distance requires similar effort but adding the two together and tagging a 5km onto the end of it is something very different.

Most coaches will agree that the 56km Two Oceans is a race quite doable on not much more than marathon training. However, 68km is somewhere in no-man’s land between Two Oceans and Comrades.

So which runners are expected to feature strongest – the Two Oceans specialist or that of Comrades?

In 2013 and 2015, Collen Makaza won the Legends 68km. He placed second twice at Two Oceans and also has a third and two fourth positions to his name. He has one lowly silver at Comrades.

In 2014 Marko Mambo was the winner in a year in which he did not finish Two Oceans or run Comrades, where he only ever achieved one gold. He has, however, won Two Oceans on three occasions. Half marathon There will definitely be every bit as much interest in the Legends 60:11 Half Marathon in the weeks that follow.

On Tuesday 25th the athletic world celebrates the 30th anniversary of Mathews Temane and Zithulele Sinqe clocking 60:11 on the East London Esplanade – a time not eclipsed on South African soil.

The chance to have a go will be on September 24.

The course is also where Elana Meyer ran a world best 67:59, a time not bettered on SA soil. So the game is on.

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