The 2014 momentum Cape Times Knysna Marathon is a highlight, not only as an event on the ten day Knysna Pick ’n Pay Oyster Festival calendar, but on the country’s running fraternity’s calendar as well.
Of the 65 000 visitors that flock to the Oyster festival each year, 9000 are here to run. The full marathon is limited to 1250 entries, while the half marathon accepts 7250, and is sold out within days of bookings opening, along with almost all the accommodation in Knysna. This says a lot about the race itself. Not only is it a mere month after the gruelling Comrades marathon, and is a qualifier for Comrades 2015, but the race is certainly no walk in the park and is a true test of endurance.
Runners can choose between the 21.1km half marathon and the 42.2km full marathon. The full marathon, for those you have not done this course before, is more of a trail run than a road race. Most of the race is literally through the forests, where there are certainly no tarred roads! It’s a course of twists and turns, and with the rainy winter season, could be made even more treacherous by inclement weather, forcing runners to adapt en-route. Road-runners without much trail running experience, should get some training in before attempting this race, as the art of the trail run requires strategy and agility – both of which are wonderfully tested on this course.
The half marathon is an enjoyable and beautifully scenic run through the Knysna Forest for the first 14km, but the hill and subsequent decline are not kind on the legs. The glorious views and a possible glimpse of the finish line might help take your mind off it though, albeit briefly. Fortunately, once at the bottom the last 3km (which may feel like ten!) is a completely flat run to the finish line.
Once the marathons are ticked off your to-do list, you and your family can get down to the relaxing activities of the Oyster Festival like shucking and eating oysters, wine, whiskey and food tastings, watching colourful street parades go by, shopping and live entertainment.
Book your Knysna accommdation soon or you might miss out!
Well, that’s one day of the ten day festival taken care of, but brace yourself for more memorable action as the other nine will be just as jam-packed.