by Simon Capstick-Dale

Active Sports Tourism

SA's biggest sporting events

Two Oceans Marathon
Two Oceans Marathon
Sport Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of South Africa's tourism industry and the country was even named ‘The World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination’ at the World Travel Awards in January 2012. The FIFA World Cup was a major boost for South Africa’s international reputation with tens of thousands of tourists flocking to our shores to watch the world’s biggest sporting event. Visiting foreign places for the purpose of spectating sport is one kind of sports tourism, but another involves the movement of people away from their immediate environment to participate in sporting events, such as marathons and cycling races – known as ‘Active Sports Tourism’  – and it’s big business in South Africa.

Here are some of the longest running and most attended sports events that people come to South Africa from far and wide to attend:
Run on the roads of KwaZulu-Natal between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, The Comrades first started in 1921, and with the exception of a break during World War II, has been run every year since. It is an ultra-marathon of approximately 89km and is the world's largest and oldest of its kind. The direction of the race alternates each year between the "up" run (87 km) starting from Durban and the "down" run (89 km) starting from Pietermaritzburg. Runners over the age of 20 qualify when they are able to complete an officially recognised marathon (42km) in under five hours.
Date: 2 June 2013
Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon
Called the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Marathon’, the Two Oceans has both a half (21km) and ultra (56km) event both of which are hosted in the city of Cape Town, together attracting some 22 000 participants. The race passes both oceans surrounding South Africa’s shoreline - the Indian and Atlantic – and is as beautiful as it is challenging. The toughest part of the Two Oceans is undoubtedly the mountain climb known as ‘Suikerbossie Pass’. After participants have enjoyed the scenery of Chapmans Peak and passed through the relative flats of Hout Bay, every ounce of remaining energy is required to climb this monstrous hill. The screams of supporters edge competitors to its summit where they’ll be greeted by the welcome sight of the Atlantic Ocean.
Dates: 29 & 30 March 2013
Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour
The Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour is the largest timed cycling event in the world, attracting around 37 000 cyclists from around the globe each year. Like the Two Oceans, this event is based in Cape Town and also passes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, this time for a distance of 109km. Starting in the City Centre, the route makes its way towards Simonstown before turning at Smitswinkel and heading back along the coastline before the steady climb up Chapmans Peak, and finally the short but steep hill of Suikerbossie. The downhill to the finish in Green Point is a welcome respite for competitors.
Date: 11 March 2013
Sani2c is a 250km three-day stage mountain bike race that starts in the Underberg and ends in Scottburgh on the South Coast in KwaZulu-Natal. The race is one of South Africa’s biggest mountain bike events but only an estimated 380 riders have completed every Sani2c since its inception in 2005. Having started with just 492 participants in its first year, the event has grown incrementally with the addition of the Adventure in 2008 and the Trail in 2012.
Trail: 14 - 16 May 2013
Adventure: 15 - 17 May 2013
Race: 16 - 18 May 2013
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Issue 61


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