South Africa announces 2012 marathon national championships

Dates and venues selected

The 2012 South African marathon national championships will take place in Wellington, in the heart of the Boland, on Saturday, August 25.

Only 45 minutes' drive from Cape Town, Wellington is situated near the Cape's famous Wine Routes, and the Wellington Tourism & Wine Route of the Western Cape in South Africa is a tourist attraction.

In what is fast becoming an annual attraction at the Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate, the South African marathon championships will be incorporated into the popular MTN National MTB Series # 5 (Wellington), where thousands of mountain bikers are expected to compete.

The elite men will race the 105km marathon distance on farm roads and jeep tracks heading away from Diemersfontein, through the vineyards and farms of Wellington, against the scenic backdrop of the Bainskloof Pass road, and towards Groenberg Mountain. The elite women will cover 75km in their championship race.

The well-balanced and fast course is packed with beautiful views, fynbos, historic farmsteads, stream crossings and vineyard settings, passing many of the local award-winning cellars. The 105km race will finish with some tough riding in the Hawekwa Plantation on the slopes of Du Toitskloof.

Men can expect to climb 2900m over 105km whereas the women will climb 1850m in 75km.

Non-elite age groupers will also be entitled to race for South African MTB Marathon Championship status, this time at KwaZulu-Natal's popular mountain biking haven of Hilton, starting at Hilton College, for the fifth annual MTN National MTB Series #7 (Hilton Dirt Festival) on Sunday, September 23.

Sub veteran men and women (30-39 years), veteran men and women (40-49 years) and master men (50-59 years) will take the challenge in the 70km marathon race that starts and finishes on the grounds of Hilton College, riding through timber plantations and sugar cane farms with spectacular views over the Albert-Falls Dam and the Umgeni Valley. Riders will encounter a total elevation is 341m with 1650m climbing in 75km.

On the same day, the remaining age categories of youth men and women (15-16 years), junior men and women (17-18 years), master women (50-59 years) and grand master men and women (Age 60+) will tackle the 40km half marathon race, offering "a little bit of everything".

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