Races. #17: Deloittes Pretoria Marathon

Published February 28, 2016 by kokoinsouthafrica

I ran the half marathon yesterday at the Deloittes Pretoria Marathon. The course was lovely, had a couple gnarly hills, but totally worth it. It ran through a lot of residential areas, but like nice residential. Then we climbed some hills up and up until we overlooked Pretoria, the Union Buildings, and there was even a band playing the bagpipes to add a little something extra to the already beautiful moment.

The field before the start.

Deloittes offered 4 distances at this race- 5, 10, 21, and 42 kilometer options. In total, 10,300 runners pitched up.

Runners toeing at the start line!

Casual band playing bag pipes

Pretoria Boys High School Band

I like half marathons because they’re kind of an ideal distance. It’s long enough to be slightly challenging but it’s mostly just for fun. State of flow!

Ok, now let me digress into something a little more serious. I really dislike the lack of eco-consciousness that exists in the running culture. On a race course there will be a water station every 3ish kilometers and subsequently those areas become littered with plastic water sachets. The race organizers place plentiful recycle bins strategically to help runners have a place to throw their trash but sadly, most runners just toss their rubbish wherever.

Do you ever have moments in nature where you get misty-eyed because everything is so beautiful? I get those frequently and I love them. Yesterday I experience extremes ranging from gratitude for the beauty, and utter shame of the human condition of carelessness. Here we were, running through gorgeous scenery, but every time I look down I see trash created and left by runners. The race organizers hire a crew to come clean after the event but the reality is that some trash does get overlooked and we’re slowly but surely destroying our natural environment by not discarding garbage into a bin. Plastic doesn’t readily decompose in nature and can take well over 20 years to break down!

These bins exist all throughout the course…

I won’t lie, once or twice I’ve caught myself throwing my empty sachet to the ground, but I have committed myself to never allowing that to happen again. Now I shop for my running shorts in the men’s sportswear department specifically because men’s shorts tend to have larger pockets. When I’m running I carry all my trash with me until I find a proper bin to throw it in. Runners have got to start being more aware of the impact we are having on the environment and not allowing laziness to dictate actions.

…yet trash always ends up here….this makes me really sad 😦

Many runners have been hasgtagging #runclean to promote eco-conscious athleticism, and the #runclean campaign has gone viral. Strides are being made toward bringing awareness to this issue as many runners are unhappy with the state these events leave the ground in. I encourage you to think about your impact on the litter that exists in your realms of life and how you can influence it.

All in all, it was a good race with friends. I met some cool people along the way. Shared some ciders at the end. And I’m sad to say that I think next weekend will be my last race in South Africa! Wild. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: