Runners pace themselves for 2018 Marakele marathon

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Avid runners can brace themselves for a run on the wild side, as the Marakele National Park marathon is set for 3 March 2018.

“This is a unique marathon which takes place inside the park and aims to bring together both the ordinary members of the public as well as the professional running community of South Africa to have some fun and take ‘a run on the wild side’,” said South African National Parks (SANParks) spokesperson Divhani Maremba.

The park’s most popular sporting event, known as the Marakele marathon, includes a full marathon (42.2 km), half Marathon (21.1km), 10km and 5km fun run for the whole family.

Runners can pile on the mileage in their legs, qualify for the Comrades Marathon while being exposed to the importance of conservation and tour the renowned national park.

The race is organised by SANParks, in partnership with the park’s Honorary Rangers and the Thabazimbi marathon club. Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is the chief sponsor of the event.

Proceeds from the marathon will go to the Honorary Rangers who utilise the funds for conservation activities within the Park.

“Last year we had Coca Cola on board as a title sponsor and this pushed the marathon to a whole new level. Since we are retaining them and other sponsors who have partnered with us, we are almost certain that the 2018 race will be a huge success,” said Marakele Park Manager Mphadeni Nthangeni.

The marathon has reverted to its original dates to allow professional runs to participate in a build up to the Comrades.

“This is to accommodate all professional runners who would like to participate in all the major races that lead to the Comrades Marathon.”

Successful participants can look forward to race medals with one of the big five animals printed on the medal.

“We thought that since Marakele is a Big 5 National Park, we should introduce medals that will be unique to the race, at the end of the 5 year period one can walk away with all the medals that have Africa’s Big 5 and that is something one can always look back on,” said Nthangeni.

Not only are there five separate medals for the next five years but there will also be a commemorative medal awarded to all those who have completed all Big 5 events.

Participants are limited to 300 runners per race except that there is no limit on the 5 km fun run. 

“We urge people to register in numbers to come and participate in this race that takes place in our park,” said Nthangeni.

Those who wish to participate can register online at or at your nearest Pick n Pay retail outlet.

Alternatively, for manual entries and accommodation in the park, please contact Elise Coetzer on or fax 086 613 0720. -