Runners packages include the following:
- Up to seven nights’ in chosen accommodation
- Guaranteed entry to the Big Five Marathon
- Group transfers
- Race route inspection
- Pre-marathon warm up run
- Meals as stated in itinerary
- Game drives as per itinerary
- Post-race celebration party
- An English speaking guide
The Big Five Marathon is known for its challenging course, which takes runners through incredible scenery and showcases the natural beauty and wildlife of South Africa.
The start and finish line are situated at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. After the start, the marathon and half marathon routes take the runners past Ravineside Lodge, the Entabeni Monolith and further on to the lower plateau. This first section is run on dirt roads made up of red sand. Runners will pass a few hills (nothing too bad…the most challenging is yet to come!). And when you reach Hanglip View Point, you backtrack and run back before you reach Yellow Wood Valley. Pay attention to this section as the surface is very uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.
The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course. You are about to run down the steepest slope of your life! This sharp descent is on a paved surface. The next three kilometres or so will be excruciatingly hard on your quads as you negotiate the steep slope. You reach lion country after the descent. And, although the next nine kilometres are flat, you’re running through deep sand. Full marathoners do a 9km loop, whereas half marathon runners run a 2km loop.
This brings us back to Yellow Wood. And yes, you guessed correctly – we’re going up the dreaded hill this time! Be prepared to take things slowly as it’s virtually impossible to run up this hill.
The route carries on to Long Drive, a narrow valley, where marathon runners do a 6km loop. Half marathoners run across the valley and reach the final section of the route. This section is run on dirt trails, a welcome respite from the deep sand and loose stone terrain earlier on.
The end of the run is fairly hard (final four kilometres). We run halfway down the ridge, which provides us with a wonderful view out over the plateau’s lake. The surface is fairly bad, consisting of hard uneven stony ground with plenty of large rocks and stones of all sizes. This final part has quite a few hills and as the surface is loose, it pays to keep a careful watch on the ground as we run towards the finish. With the finish line in sight you can now take it nice and easy.
The weather is very dry, sunny and cool at this time of the year. Participants can expect an average temperature of around 15-20 Celsius, but with variations due to sun, shade, wind and altitude.
What do I need to travel to South Africa?
You will need a current New Zealand Passport to travel overseas, with a validity of six months or more after the date upon which you are scheduled to arrive back into New Zealand. Currently no visas are required for New Zealand Passport holders to travel to South Africa
Do I need travel insurance?
It is compulsory that each person has travel insurance before travelling for the Big Five Marathon. Although it isn’t compulsory that it’s purchased via Allianz Global Assistance (our preferred provider), we do highly recommend it, as unlike other companies, they provide cover for the actual marathon event. We recommend you take out insurance as soon as you book, as it will ensure you are covered in case you injure yourself prior to the event and can no longer travel.
Are flights included?
As we find most of our clients make the most of their time while in this part of the world, flights aren't automatically included in this package. This provides you with the opportunity to customise your travel plans with Marathon Tours. Being a fully bonded travel agency we can assist you with all your travel requirements including flights, additional tours or providing personal recommendations from our experienced team.
How do I book?
Simply click on the yellow registration link displayed at the top of the page or phone the team on 0800 RUNNING. As this event is extremely popular don't delay. Should the upcoming event already be sold out talk to us about joining our contact list for the following year.