After having to downgrade in 2010 from the Marathon to the Half-marathon, this year was my first Knysna Forest Marathon — in fact it was my first official marathon! Whilst I absolutely loved the race, I made some mistakes and learned some lessons the hard way!
As usual, the morning started early with the taxi-ride into the dark forest. This is loads of fun and is one of the aspects of the race that contributes to its character and appeal. The Glebe was well set-up again, and tea, coffee and other goodies were all laid-on by Pick ‘n’ Pay.
The marathon starts in the opposite direction to the half-marathon course, heading north up a gradual, easy hill. It then rolls comfortably to the halfway mark, after which it starts to drop: 423m from the highest point (494m) to the bottom of “The Mineshaft” at 71m.
The route then climbs out up the other side to join the half-marathon route about 100 m before the Simola entrance. From here it is a punishing downhill on paving stones to the road leading to the lagoon.
The finish was moved back to the Loerie Park venue (last year it ended at the school grounds on Waterfront Drive near the center of town). This meant an extra few kilometers on tar and then brick as the route followed Waterfront Drive, and then the path along the lagoon to the finishing line.
I just managed to finish under 4 hours in an official time of 3:58:10. I ran in Salomon S-LAB 3 XT Wings which were way to hard for this race, and my legs and feet took an absolute hammering. I used my Salomon Twin Belt and had Hammer Perpetuem in the one bottle.