Big Five Marathon a wild challenge

11 May 2011

The Big Five Marathon, which takes place in South Africa’s Limpopo province every June, offers competitors the amazing experience of running a marathon in a game reserve that features Africa’s “Big Five” wild animals.

The event takes place in the Entabeni Game Reserve in an area known as the Waterberg.

Not only does Entabeni have the Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant – it is also known for featuring almost all of South Africa’s antelope species. The reserve is part of Unesco’s Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, a status it acquired in 2001.

Amazing settings

The Big Five Marathon is part of Adventure Marathons’ portfolio of marathons that take place in amazing settings.

Apart from the Big Five Marathon, their list of events includes The Great Wall Marathon on the Great Wall in China, the Petra Marathon in and around the ancient city of Petra, The Polar Circle Marathon on the ice sheet of Greenland, and The Solar Eclipse Marathon in Port Douglas, Australia.

The route of the Big Five Marathon is particularly testing and features mountains, valleys, ravines, gorges, forests, savannah and bushveld. It’s an up and down tester, and that’s not including the care that needs to be taken around wild animals!

Cool climate

Thankfully for competitors, June is right in the middle of the South African winter, so they can expect temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees celcius instead of summer temperatures of over 30 degrees.

The race draws runners from far and wide and international tour packages, of either four or seven days, are part of what’s on offer. They include game drives, route inspections, and the marathon itself.

Entrants for the marathon and half-marathon have to be at least 18 years of age. Younger runners may take part in the 10-kilometre run, but have to be accompanied by an adult.

The marathon is a hot ticket, and this year’s race is already sold out.

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