This past Sunday was the inaugural run of the Capital City 42 marathon in Pietermartizburg. Kwa Zulu Natal is home to a few wonderful and brutal runs and I for one, am very glad to have this new comer for my racing calendar.
Last year we all thought with the end of the Maritzburg City Marathon we will have a gap during February. Entry was relatively easy, but the cost of the run was quite high in comparison to other events that I have entered. In total it was Entry fee, Chip hire fee, Shirt and service fee totalling up to about R 500. There was 3 distances available 42km, 21km and 10km. It was also a Comrades and 2 Oceans qualifier.
This one had the added bonus where you can choose to purchase a limited edition Puma shirt and a much reduced rate of R 130. This also caused a lot of confusion during collection as there was normal shirts and then then Puma ones, so some athletes were unsure how to collect. I had the same problem but must admit Capital city were very quick to respond with any all queries.
Their social media presence was phenomenal and seemed like they had people manning to answer any and all queries in a quick manner. I especially enjoyed the motivational quotes they had and then the countdown. Even after the race loads of photos and the video highlights were a special touch.
Race day one couldn’t ask for better conditions, and there is something special about starting at City Hall, the banner and the excitement is always something that makes my heart skip a beat. Start time is ideal 5am, with generous cut off times. There was a few moans and groans with regards to getting to the start as they were about 2 km apart but there was ample security.
The route itself was really great offering the best of Pietermaritzburg and giving you the opportunity to see parts of the town you will not normally see. Water tables were stocked and the support along the road was great. It was also communicated with signs which roads will be closed for the normal public and the information was available freely on their website.
I absolutely love the design of the medals and they are truly beautiful addition to any medal collection, and there was able refreshments at the end for the extra energy boost after the run.
I have also been fortunate that Steve Mkasi one on the board of the organizing committee agreed to answer some of my questions that we as athletes also get a glimpse into what organizers have to face to get these amazing events to our front doors.
Q. This was the Capital City 42 is the inaugural run, what influenced this decision to bring another marathon to Pietermaritzburg?
Steve: We identified a gap/void that was left by the defunct Maritzburg City Marathon. We also had ambitious to have something unique that would celebrate the Pietermaritzburg as a Capital City of KwaZulu-Natal.
Q. I don’t think we as athletes have any idea what it takes to organize something like this and to this scale. Can you tell us what the biggest hurdles that you as organizers face?
Steve: Lack of financial Support/resources remains the biggest hurdle. Once you have managed to use the little resources that you manage to raise, you are faced with the challenge of having to get athletes enter the event on time. Not knowing how many athletes will turn up for the event, you plan ahead for a large number and end up with large quantities of unused goods (medals; t-shirts, water, coke and so forth) which by necessary implications means that you are wasting the little resources you have available.
Q. How many people in your team?
Steve: We had different sectors in the committee and a core team. Each sector had its own team and its core team. Therefore the total number would be in the region of 500 but was fused together by a core lead team of 8.
Q. The biggest highlight during the planning and execution phase?
Steve: The undying spirit of the ROC led by our Race Director Sihle Shange. The commitment shown by each and every member of the team, their selfless and desire to serve for no reward.
Q. What is something you have noticed athletes or other influences do that makes events great or terrible? What advice can you give them to make sure we keep having these events to participate in?
Steve: Money is a scarce commodity, however, it would help race organisers to plan and execute their plan better if runners entered races quite early.
Q. How did the logo and the Name Capital City come to light, is there a background story?
Steve: It represents what Pietermaritzburg is about in our eyes including the City Hall.
Q. Who decided on the route? How many athletes in total participated?
Steve: The team, the core team of 8. There were 4187 runners
Q. We know Bongumusa Mthembu won this race, multi Comrades winner. Any other superstars that participated in the inaugural any international athletes?
Steve: The winner of the ladies race is a rising super star and happened to have been our race ambassador. Sanelisiwe Mbanjwa. We also had great talent in the 10km in Mbuleli Mathanga.
Q. More about you. What made you personally get involved with this marathon? Do you come from a running background and did you participate?
Steve: I am the cofounder of Phuma Kzn AC, I have a military background. Planning and precision in execution are military traits that drove me to be part of this team.
I would like thank the team of the Capital City marathon for a great race and look forward to next year. All the small things that happened are miniature in comparison to all the bigger positives.