Having completed the soweto marathon 21km last year and in addition to some prodding from my cousin I finally did my first full marathon this year. The race happened on the 6 Nov 2016 and it was definitely a milestone in my athletic adventures. I have been doing half marathons for a while now and kept putting of a full marathon because I figured it want much different than getting ready for a half marathon. After proving myself completely wrong I have to say I still enjoyed the race completely. The soweto is one of the harder marathons in jhb (and according to some in SA) and the race definitely showed me that I need to still up my game when it comes to running. I was originally planning on a 5 hour (or sub 5 if possible) but this unfortunately never happened. In the last 6kms of the race I lost my legs (there isn’t any other way i can explain that) and had to do short walk + trot sessions till the finish line. In the end I finished with a time of 5:22:44, in the end I am happy that I could even finish the race and will just use this as a way to set an easy personal best next time I do the race or another marathon. While I may have lost my legs at the end I was definitely not pushing nearly as hard as I could have as demonstrated by my crazy level of recovery over the next week.
Organization and general issues
The race organization was mostly good. The main issue really comes down to traffic on the day of the event and not enough marshaling around that. But once parked getting to the start line was easy and there were plenty of porta potties though I have come to not rely on them anymore.
I did this run with my cousin who is significantly stronger and fitter than I am and even though he had never done a full marathon either, he definitely made the race more enjoyable. While we couldn’t talk the entire race (I can barely talk for 15mins so no way I could talk for 5 hours), the occasional pep talk as he pushed me forward and kept me engaged definitely made a huge difference to me getting over the finish line.
Running isn’t as technical as cycling so there isn’t as much to cover , but the hills towards the end of the race did hit me at the worst possible time.
I also ran with a hydration vest that I was used to training with and that I think I really needed since my timings were not in sync with the water stations and towards the end it helped more when stations were dry because I was so far back in the pack. I am not sure what caused it, but I also go quite nauseous at the end of the race (in sync with when I lost my power to run) and no matter much I drank I couldn’t get hydrated properly. This probably resulted in one of the worst feelings I can imagine (trying to run while feeling sick).
In the end this was a great race. I gave the race everything I had and while I could have possibly done better if I had trained harder ahead of time, I am more than happy with the time that I posted this year.
The statistics from my race can be found here