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Race previews Victoria Falls Marathon

01 January 2024, 9am

A race packed with joyous feeling

The happiest marathon on earth

Victoria Falls Marathon
Sun 7 July 2024

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Countless runners return year after year to face the iconic challenge of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon. Many regard it as the ‘Happiest Marathon on Earth’, with the 2023 event marking the 15th year of this destination event.

From the moment you arrive for the marathon weekend in the Falls to the moment you leave, the spirit of joy envelops you. The sheer exhilaration of running in the wild African bush, with the real possibility of coming face to face with an elephant, buffalo or hippo, adds an element of excitement and freedom seldom found elsewhere.

Runners hear ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ – the local term for the sound of the Victoria Falls plummeting hundreds of metres down into a gorge of immense beauty. They pass age-old upside-down trees (the African Baobab) and dancing to the beat of pulsating African drums at various spectator points. This is a race packed with joyous feeling and unique memories.

Safety measures limit numbers in the full marathon which crosses over the iconic bridge spanning the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Applications poured in for the 2023 event, forcing entries to close early on reaching maximum capacity. There were over 4000 participants representing 38 different countries across the full and half marathons, fun run and Steward Bank Relay. You’ll find all sorts of colourful characters en route, from those dressed as African warriors to Superman and Batman.

The route meanders along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River and through the National Park, making for an interesting mix of tarred roads and dirt tracks, all meeting World Athletics’ route measurements and standards. Armed rangers stand guard to ensure runners’ safety and regular water points along the route keep runners hydrated and motivated. The spray of the Falls and welcoming water tunnels provide refreshing relief from the African sun.

There would be nothing more heartbreaking than finishing your first marathon and finding out that it wasn’t quite 42.2km. The Econet Victoria Falls Marathon is AIMS and World Athletics certified and timed using disposable timing chips. Race results are effectively on live-time and uploaded to the website immediately.

Race day winds down with a sunset cruise for those booking an official marathon weekend travel package through Wild Frontiers – perfect for putting up tired feet and enjoying a sundowner.

The race committee is heavily invested in the uplift of the local community. This year the start and finish line were moved to the local Government school – Baobab Primary – where a facelift of all the amenities, school grounds and ablutions was undertaken by the marathon committee to ensure the new ‘home’ of the marathon was in tip-top shape to welcome runners. The benefits of these much-needed upgrades will be enjoyed by the pupils for years to come. Participants are strongly encouraged to make their run even more meaningful by fundraising for charity – with Greenline Africa Trust and the Victoria Falls Anti-poaching unit being among the charities the marathon supports.

Entries open about three months before the race but are available prior to this if bought as part of a package via the official tour operator and marathon partner Wild Frontiers.

The provisional race date next year is 7 July 2024.

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