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Posted on: Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Darling Fun Run / Walk / Get Pulled along by your energetic boxer pup event

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Darling Marathon

Darling Marathon

The last time I heard Chariots of Fire was 5.30am at the start line of the 2008 Comrades Marathon.  I heard it again on Saturday morning but this time it was at the start of the 5km Darling Fun Run / Walk / Get Pulled along by your energetic boxer pup event!

So a little less nerve wracking than 2008 and perhaps a little more fun.  After all, 36 minutes on the road with Milly by my side instead of 10 hours on the road with no one at my side; 36 minutes is going to win hands down every time!

We left Cape Town at 6am for the drive out to Darling.  That in itself was a test of a marriage!  It was dark, it was misty, we hadn’t read the map book and we kept missing the N7!  Around 7ish however the sun started to rise and the countryside peeked out from behind the mist.

Its pretty countryside with Nguni cattle grazing and lambs bouncing around the fields.  We arrived at the Darling Primary School on Kalkoentjie Road and had to park a fair distance from the entrance.  This was clearly a popular little event.

Darling Marathon

Darling Marathon

The half marathon which my husband competed in began at 8.30am (also with Chariots of Fire playing for inspiration) and a couple of hundred runners took to the route which is part tar and part gravel.  The course was a scenic tour of Darling including running through farmland, the town itself and the residential area.

My husband is a becoming a seasoned 21.1km runner and he commented that it was a difficult route; mostly flat and the day was warm too.  The winner of the half marathon galloped in with a time of 1.06 which makes my 5km 36 minute time seem well below average!

The 5km event kicked off at 9am with a mixture of runners, dogs and walkers taking part.  It was lovely to see so many people taking part in both events, some walking both distances, one man covered the half marathon while pushing his child in a pram, myself and a few others ran with canine companions and others just somer running.

Darling Marathon

Darling Marathon

I also saw one young boy running barefoot ala Zola Budd – rather him than me! As mentioned Milly and I crossed the finish line in the blitz vinnig time of 36 minutes.

My father, a 10 times Comrades finisher has always told me to start slowly and then to finish with a flourish – I think I need to instil this way of running into Milly because she took off like a husky pulling a sled and then had nothing left to give at the end.  FF Milly, FF.  Finish with a flourish!

Darling itself is just so pretty.  I managed, in between telling Milly to slow down, to look at the houses as we ran past them at the beginning of the 5km route and they are so quaint.  I saw one property with the most magnificent creeper in burnished autumnal reds tumbling off the wall.

Another house had a gorgeous stoep, perfect for lazy afternoons, lined with white rose bushes. The Town itself has a number of interesting looking eateries, one that stood out for me was The Marmalade Cat.  We will have to visit again soon and see what The Marmalade Cat has in store for us!

I also remember a man selling fruit and veges at a stall on the side of the road and he’d also filled glass jars with country flowers to sell.  What a sweet concept and if we had had a shorter journey home I would have gone back and bought a jar.

Darling Brew

Darling Brew

The event was really well run (excuse the pun!) and I had a wonderful morning out.  The organisers had music playing, the registration process was quick and easy, the routes were clearly marked, water points were plentiful and at the end (and start for that matter) there were various food and beverage stalls.

We treated ourselves to a cheese and ham toasted sandwich which was the princely sum of R10 (can you believe that?!) and then because Nik Naks were only R1 I bought two packets of those too!  I had to keep repeating myself and asking again and again whether the Nik Naks were R1 … I can’t remember the last time I bought something for R1!

We finished off our re-fuelling meal with a pancake each and these were only R4 so for R15 each we had a very tasty meal!

We will return next year for this gem of an event but I think next year we will plan ahead and book some “Darling Accommodation” so that we can both explore the town and surrounding area.  We will then have the added advantage of already being at the start so we can get up at a more civilised hour!

I would recommend the Darling Half Marathon and fun events to anyone.

It was a super morning and unlike Milly, Darling you darling, finished with a flourish!

Useful Darling Links:
Darling Attractions
Things to Do in Darling
Darling Guest Houses
Darling Self Catering

Helen Rushton


After living in London and travelling the world for many years and more recently living in the Mother City, I now reside on a tranquil sugar cane farm in Kearsney; an area steeped in the history of South Africa’s sugar industry. During the summer months I get involved with the community by assisting the local primary school with swimming lessons at our country club. Some of my favourite things are reading or picking freshly grown vegetables and Iceland poppies in our garden. Milly, my boxer loves her walks to the river that runs through our farm and sometimes, Sandy the cat I hand reared, joins us for a stroll!

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