Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
4
Developed in conjunction with the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls Marathon race is an AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races) registered event. The marathon race provides a platform for both local and international runners to pit themselves against the best!The marathon race route is varied … MORE
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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '17

    BOTTOM LINE: Victoria Falls may not be the largest, or the sexiest, or the most hyped marathon in Africa. But unlike many American marathons, it continues to grow each year … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Victoria Falls may not be the largest, or the sexiest, or the most hyped marathon in Africa. But unlike many American marathons, it continues to grow each year and for good reason. No other race on the planet promises immediate proximity to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a potential close encounter of the two-tusked kind. If you’re a Seven Continents hopeful or a traveling runner of any kind, I’d recommend you take a good long look at Vic Falls when planning your African adventure.

    Other than the initial out-and-back across the bridge alongside the Falls, you won’t have the benefit of head-turning landscapes. The dusty two-loop course lacks compelling scenery, a fact made more conspicuous by having to run it twice. And even in winter, you should plan for a warm day—you can always be pleasantly surprised if cooler temperatures prevail. This is Africa, after all.

    And yes, a disgruntled African elephant (the largest land mammal on the planet) wandered onto the course next to me in mile 15, an encounter that seemed to surprise us both. I’m proud to say I managed to give him clearance and still snap a photo, all without spooking him or soiling myself.

    PRODUCTION: The organizers do a first-class job of hosting their third-world marathon. The Kingdom Hotel where we and many other runners stayed is a 3-minute walk from the start line, always a huge advantage. Likewise the outdoor expo held at the Kingdom Hotel was pleasantly small and easily navigated. At the expo we were able to sign up for shuttle service from the finish line back to the hotel on race day. And though shuttle service at the finish line at Vic Falls Primary School was a bit disorganized, the brief inconvenience was nothing that a bit of patience didn’t resolve.

    The course could have used another aid station or two in the closing miles, and maybe a few more buckets of ice in which to store the water sachets. And there weren’t a whole lot of spectators, but then again that’s not really the expectation in a tourist town like Victoria Falls. Besides, I’m pretty sure my ears were still ringing from all the cheering at Comrades, so a low-key but well-supported race was just what this doctor ordered.

    The course wasn’t closed to traffic, but on sparsely traveled two-lane roads this was never a concern, aside from the clouds of dust kicked up by passing vehicles. Though seeing discarded water sachets being blown into the underbrush by passing trucks was disheartening, and I hope the organizers and volunteers were able to find and collect them before the wildlife did.

    SWAG: First time ever I received a finisher’s tanktop (rather than t-shirt), and an attractive one it is—eye-catching red and blue with the race logo emblazoned on front. And it was cool to see everyone wearing theirs at the finish line festival. I’m not a huge “suns out, guns out” guy with my runner’s physique, but I’m sure I’ll find ample use for it in the SoCal heat. The finisher’s medal is also nice, though small and understated, and depicts three (male?) runners with the Falls in the background. And despite its diminutive size, it’s still the largest of my African medals!

    For more details including traveler’s tips for Zimbabwe, check out my race report at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2017/09/13/victoria-falls-marathon-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
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