One of the province’s most iconic marathons will be returning to the Upper South Coast shores on Sunday, 27 October with the starting time set for 5.30am for all the three race categories – 10km, 21.1km and 42km. Early entries for this year’s Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon can be made online at  webtickets.co.za or at any Pick ‘n Pay until Sunday, 15 September. All early-bird entrants will receive a free Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon shirt. 

“The annual Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon continues to grow every year and for this – the 30th edition – we are anticipating around 3 000 to 3 500 competitors,” explained Charles Botha, chairman of the Amanzimtoti Athletics Club (AAC) – organisers of the event. “The race always attracts many athletes, both locally and from out of the area, because of the scenic coastal route which really showcases the area’s natural beauty.” 

Three-time winner, Janie Grundling, will be returning this year in an attempt to retain her title. The Durban resident won the ladies’ division in 42.2km in both 2014 and 2017, as well as the 21.1km last year. 

Commenting on the race, Grundling said: “I love to run the annual Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon – it’s such a great time of year! Because it’s at the end of October, us Comrades Marathon runners have more than enough time to recover from the ultra-marathon with time to prepare for this marathon.” 

She said the route and general ambience made this such a unique contest: “It is such a spectator-friendly race, and seconders or supporters have relatively easy access to the route, without being a nuisance to both runners and organisers. The route is also lovely – undulating, scenic and point-to-point! I am very excited about this year’s race and would like to thank Amanzimtoti Athletics Club for hosting such a legendary race.” 

This marathon is an early qualifier for both the Comrades Marathon 2020 as well as the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon 2020. Participants can collect their race packs at Hutchinson Park, Amanzimtoti on Saturday, 26 October from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, 27 October from 3.30am to 4.40am. All participants who complete the Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon will receive medals at the finish. The race will be followed by a prize-giving ceremony which starts at 9.30am. 

On race day, there will be parking available at the Civic Centre with buses running from Civic Lane to the three separate starting points. 

· The 10km run starts at Illovo Beach with a 2-hour-and-a-half-hour cut-off. The buses for 10km will run from 4.15am to 4.45am.

· The 21.1km half-marathon will run from Ilfracombe Station with a 3-and-a-half-hour cut-off. Buses run from 4am to 4.30am.

·  The 42.2km marathon starts at Scottburgh Station with a 6-hour cut-off. Buses will run from 3.30am to 4.15am. 

Sapphire Coast Tourism chairman, Romy Wenzel, will herself be participating in this year’s 21.1km event. Commenting on the race, which she described as a ‘well organised event and a calendar highlight for so many participants’, Wenzel said: “I am so looking forward to representing Sapphire Coast Tourism in this magnificent race. In addition to the marathon itself, this is a great opportunity for visitors to experience the amazing activities and sightseeing opportunities on the KwaZulu-Natal Upper South Coast! We are very excited to welcome new and returning participants to this gem on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast for what is sure to be a fantastic race and sightseeing experience!”

Participants in the Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon can enjoy some of the many Upper South Coast activities including: 

·        Scuba diving at Aliwal Shoal, one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.

·        Swimming, snorkelling, fishing or surfing in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

·        Great golfing at Amanzimtoti and Umkomaas Golf Courses.

·        A stroll through the nature reserves teaming with bird and wildlife.

·        Hutchison Park which boasts great sporting facilities, cycling and hiking trails.

·        A visit to the historic Adams College, founded in 1884.

The cost of Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon tickets is R180 for the 10km; R210 for the 21.1km and R280 for the 42.2km. For more information or to book tickets, visit www.totiac.co.za or contact Lynette Botha on 082 498 6032.

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