13.1 Africa Half Marathons That’ll Take You to Another World

Runners on the course at the Sierra Leone Marathon & Half Marathon (Photo courtesy Sierra Leone Marathon)

“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.” — Karen Blixen

1) Two Oceans Half Marathon

Run where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet — you can actually see the place where they collide here — at this race that runs in the shadow of Table Mountain National Park, the majestic flat mountain that looks over the city.

March • Cape Town, South Africa

2) Diacore Gabarone Half Marathon

This five-year-old race through Botswana’s capital city raises money for charities across this southern African nation, where you can take in a safari on one of its plentiful wilderness areas before or after your race.

Sunday, May 13, 2018 • Gaborone, Botswana

3) Malawi Impact Half Marathon

You’ll run a sandy, dusty trail route in the early going at this beautiful race through what organizers describe as “the warm heart of Africa,” a landlocked nation that lies along Lake Malawi in southeastern Africa, where you’ll finish the race with a long stretch along the lake’s shoreline.

Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Mangochi, Malawi

4) Sierra Leone Half Marathon

What Runner’s World magazine calls the world’s “craziest and most worthwhile marathon” awaits at this race, which tromps through the lush jungle forests just outside the city of Makeni while raising money for Street Child, a charity that works to get children in the west African country off the streets and back into family homes and schools.

Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Makeni, Sierra Leone

5) Uganda International Half Marathon

Nestled along the massive Lake Victoria in central Africa, this landlocked nation plays host this winter to this race’s second annual running, unfolding through rural villages and along dirt roads, with stunningly beautiful forests surrounding you as you run.

Sunday, June 2, 2018 • Masaka, Uganda

6) Big Five Half Marathon

Known for its almost indescribably beautiful route, along which you’ll likely see African wildlife from giraffes and antelope to elephants, rhinos and buffalo, this race unfolds through one of the most famous game reserves in South Africa — where nothing will be between you and the animals as you run.

Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Entabeni Safari Conservancy, South Africa

7) Safaricom Half Marathon

Run through the stunning, 62,000-acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya, where you can see the famed “big five” African animals — lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalo — this race is considered one of the toughest in Africa and one of the Runner’s World’s “must-do” races anywhere on the planet.

Saturday, June 30, 2018 • Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

8) Victoria Falls Half Marathon

Ready to run across these world-famous iconic waterfalls, where you’ll feel the water spray on you as run across the Victoria Falls Bridge? All that awaits at this race, which will also take you across the Zambezi River and briefly into Zambia before heading back into Zimbabwe for the race finish.

Sunday, July 1, 2018 • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

9) Knysna Forest Half Marathon

While the full marathon runs 20 miles through a deep, dark forest, the half marathon likewise runs through the forest before joining the tar-surfaced road that heads into this town along the coastal stretch of South Africa known as the Garden Route, about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Saturday, July 7, 2018 • Knysna, South Africa

10) Mauritius Half Marathon

Surrounded by the blue waters of the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa, the island of Mauritius plays host to this scenic race that also features a full marathon and 10K, and runs along coastal roads past beautiful lagoons to the finish at St. Felix Beach.

Sunday, July 15, 2018 • St. Felix, Mauritius

11) Cape Town Marathon Peace Trail Run

While there isn’t (strictly speaking) a half marathon that’s part of this stunning race through South Africa’s wondrous capital city, the event includes a 22-kilometer Peace Trail Run that unfolds between the mountains of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill inside Table Mountain National Park, named for the towering flat-topped mountain that looks out onto the city below.

Saturday, September 22, 2018 • Cape Town, South Africa

12) Kenya Impact Half Marathon

Now in its second year, this race through tea plantations and local villages in the Kenyan countryside is part of a week-long cultural exchange that introduces the runners to the people of Nairobi and its nearby communities, where you’ll tour a slum and wander the markets in Kerochi before running the race on Saturday.

Saturday, October 20, 2018 • Nairobi, Kenya

13) Sharm El Sheikh Half Marathon

Part of a 25-year-old race that includes the International Egyptian Marathon and the 100-kilometer Pharonic Race, this half marathon starts at the Sharm-El Sheikh resort overlooking Shark’s Bay and then unfolds along a point-to-point route on the Gulf of Aqaba, all the way to the finish line at Zouara Beach.

Friday, January 11, 2019 • Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt

13.1) Kilimanjaro Half Marathon

At 19,341 feet above sea level, Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, a place of stunning natural beauty where you’ll run through the town of Moshi that lies at its base, past coffee plantations and forests as locals crowd along the course to cheer you on.

Sunday, March 3, 2019 • Moshi, Tanzania

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