World Sporting Events

The UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships

Pietermaritzburg has been labeled as Africa’s “Bike City”. Only 3 cities in the world enjoy this status. This was entrenched by the announcement of a sweeping programme of international events over until 2018. CAC President Dr. Mohamed Wagih Azzam, who is the Vice-President of the international Cycling Union (UCI) said that Pietermaritzburg and South Africa’s reputation as a world-class event host was good for Africa, and represented an opportunity to expand the sport’s various disciplines across the continent. Pietermritzburg has world class cycling facilities and hosts the world renown UCI Mountain Bike Challenge each year during April. Other biking events in Pietermaritzburg are the Nelson Mandela Challenge, BMX world champs and in 2016 the Para-Trac championships.

Alec Lenferna Event Director

The Midmar Mile

The Midmar Mile is a swimming race held annually in February at the Midmar Dam, north of Pietermaritzburg. Each year, The Midmar Mile draws thousands of competitors, from serious international athletes and Olympic medallists to purely recreational swimmers. The event gains its name from the location (Midmar Dam) and the distance (roughly one mile). A unique feature of the race is that while the distance covered is always a mile, depending on rainfall and the water levels in the dam, the distance swum varies from year to year. In years with poor rainfall, competitors are subject to the infamous Midmar sprint start: a bedlam of bodies sprinting across the muddy lake-shore and through the shallows until the water is deep enough to swim. In order to handle the vast number of competitors, the swimmers swim out in 5 groups at three-minute intervals in 8 separate mile races over two days; the group division the swimmer is assigned to is based on a qualifying time in a previous (qualifying) event, with the fastest group leaving first.

Email Address: Phone : 0861 MIDMAR – (0861 643627)

The Comerades Marathon

Comrades Marathon is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km ( 56.1 miles) between the capital of the Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Pietermaritzburg, and the coastal city of Durban. The race is usually run during the month of June. In alternate years each city is the point of departure, hense the race is known as either an “up run” or a “down run”. Runners from across the globe compete annually and numbers can be upward of 22 000 runners.

Email Address: Telephone : +27 33 897 8650 Web :

The Duzi Canoe Marathon

The Dusi Canoe Marathon is arguably the world’s most prestigious canoe/kyak race, held between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. It is run along the Msunduzi River, over a total distance of 120km. The race is currently held over a period of three days, with each day having a defined beginning and end. The race is referred to as The Dusi Canoe Marathon. The first day is 45 km which includes roughly 15 km of portaging with the canoe, with shorter portaging sections on day 2 and 3. Day 2 is also 45 km and ends with a 10 km stretch on flat water on the Inanda Dam. Day 3 is 35 km of clean cold water let out from the dam. There are several sections with large rapids, particularly on day 2 and 3. Competitors have a choice to either compete in a K1 or K2 canoe. The current record stands at around 8 hours (over the three race days).

Email Address: Telephone : 033 394 9994 / 033 342 1528