Nechama Brodie is the editor of The Joburg Book (Pan Macmillan) and an occasional runner of half-marathons. This is her take on running in Johannesburg.
"Joburg is really a car city – but if you wake early enough the streets are pretty and quiet, and you can greet spring and summer mornings with a two-legged sun salutation. While many roads and areas are perfectly safe for runners, even those running on their own, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – experienced runners know it’s not just crime you have to worry about but also inconsiderate drivers. Road runners should follow basic safety guides by: running facing towards oncoming traffic; avoiding wearing headphones; and wearing light/bright/highly visible clothing. Running in groups also provides added safety, and extra eyes to watch out for obstacles like potholes and open manhole covers!
Johannesburg and surrounds boast a surprisingly full road and trail running calendar – good weather means there are races almost all year round, whether you're looking for a fast 10km or a scenic(ish) half- or full marathon. Races are a great way to see the city without having to worry too much about cars and security etc. A full calendar of events can be found at runnersworld.co.za and runnersguide.co.za."
RUNNING CLUBS AND WEEKLY TIME TRIALS
A great way to keep motivated and socialise while keeping up a running hobby is to hit the tarmac with a group. If you're not familiar with the city or suburban roads, you can easily find running buddies using websites like Runners' World or the magazine's Twitter account. Joburg has a number of running clubs who host weekly time trials (usually 5km to 8km runs) for which you don't need to be a member to join in.
The Pirates Sports Club
The Tuesday evening time trial (5-8km) leaves from the Pirates bowling club car park opposite the entrance at 17:45.
25 Braeside St, Greenside, tel. +27 11 646 5025, piratesclub.co.za
The Wanderers Club
The Wanderers running club sets off for a 5km or 8km run through the Melrose suburbs every Thursday evening at 17:45. The run starts from outside the Spinners Bar on the grass track (near the Corlett Drive entrance of the club).
21 North St, Illovo, tel. +27 11 788 5010, thewanderersclub.co.za
Morningside Country Club Road Runners
The Morningside Country Club Road Runners set out for a weekly time trial every Wednesday evening at 17:45 (5km or 8km)
1 De La Rey Road, Morningside, morningsiderunners.co.za
Every weekend hundreds of runners head to Joburg's parks to take part in the weekly 5km ParkRun events (usually held every Saturday at 08:00). These events are free and a great opportunity to get out and about early in the morning. No matter your fitness level you'll usually find somebody going at your pace. Many people also choose to walk the Park Run. Joburg parks and nature reserves that host Park Run events include Modderfontein Nature Reserve and Delta Park. See the ParkRun website for the full list.