Township 2 Township Marathon History
Umlazi and Kwa-Mashu, two of Durban’s first townships, were established in 1959 as a result of the Group Areas Act; a system used by the apartheid government to separate Indians, Coloureds and Africans who lived together in places such as Umkhumbane in Durban, Sophiatown, in Johannesburg and District Six, in Cape Town. Most of the people who live within the borders of Kwa-Mashu and Umlazi originally come from Umkhumbane (now known as Chesterville) and are descendants of people who were forcibly removed from Umkhumbane during the Apartheid regime in 1950s. The aim of the Township 2 Township Marathon is to preserve this legacy by reuniting the communities through community spectator involvement, assisting in promoting the three townships and the history behind their establishment and in turn promoting athletics as a sport in communities.
In the first two years of the race, the Township 2 Township route covered a distance of 50km, making the race an ultra-marathon. Now in its third year, the race will still trace a route between KwaMashu and uMlazi via Umkhumbane, through three of KwaZulu Natal’s most well-known and oldest townships, as a standard marathon covering a distance of 42.2km.
With the 2011 route having been run from KwaMashu to Umlazi, the 2012 leg of the race will start at 05h30 at King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi and finish at 11:30am at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu; giving athletes six hours to complete the Township 2 Township Marathon. Those athletes who aim to qualify for the Two Oceans and the Comrades marathons, will have to complete the race within a five hour time limit, before the qualifying cut-off time of 10:30am.
The Township 2 Township Marathon has gained prominence on the race calendar and as a qualifier for two of the most high profile marathons on the South African sporting calendar; the race continues to attract a high calibre of athletes.