Have you ever been inspired by the sight of marathoners as they push their limits, pounding the pavement in a race towards the finish line? 

The Soweto Marathon is one such event that draws runners from all over the world, who come to take part in the full marathon, 21K (13 miles), and 10K (6.2 miles) categories.

This annual event held in the township of Soweto attracts many first-time runners, seasoned veterans, and elite athletes. It’s a festive occasion that not only celebrates running but also showcases the rich cultural heritage of the community.

As a spectator, you’ll get to join the thousands of people gathered to cheer on the runners, be part of the pulsating energy, and soak up the colorful ambience. If you’re wondering where to go to get the best vantage points, read on for some tips.

The Start

The start line is one of the best spots to watch the runners kick off the marathon. It’s also an excellent spot to take pictures of your marathoner friends as they begin their amazing 42km (26.2 miles) journey. The start line is usually crowded, so arrive early to secure the best view.

The Nasrec Expo Centre has a great ambience, with music and entertainment to get everyone in the mood for the big race.

University of Johannesburg 

One of the best spots to watch the Soweto Marathon is right along the long stretch on Chris Hani Road at the University of Johannesburg. Not only do you get a clear view of the runners, but this spot also features plenty of restrooms, food, and drinks. 

The university is accessible by car and public transport, making it a convenient option for those who do not want to walk too far.

Soweto Towers

The Soweto Towers are a landmark of Soweto, and they offer a great view of the marathon. You can watch the runners pass beneath you while enjoying the view of the city. The towers also offer an opportunity to take some breathtaking photographs. 

The towers are usually less crowded and offer a more peaceful experience.

Soweto Country Club

Located on Mokoka Street in Pimville, the Soweto Country Club offers one of the best spots to watch the Soweto Marathon. 

The country club offers a great spot. You can see the runners passing by Mokoka Street and Modjadji Street on their way to Kliptown. Plus, there’s plenty of parking, so there’s no need to stress about finding a spot.

Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication

Located in Kliptown, the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication is a historic landmark in Soweto. This square was named after Walter Sisulu, one of the key figures in the fight against apartheid. 

As the runners approach this significant spot (about 14 km/8.7 miles), you can witness the determination on their faces. Take a moment to reflect on the historical importance of the area and show your support for the participants. 

The energy here is contagious, and you’ll feel a sense of unity as athletes and spectators come together.

Regina Mundi Catholic Church

Regina Mundi is a church famous for its role in the anti-apartheid struggle in Soweto. 

The church is the ideal place to witness some of the most thrilling moments of the race as runners complete their first half of the marathon. It’s one of the most layered experiences, as the area echoes with enthusiastic church bells, roaring crowds, and runners pushing through the elements. 

Friends and family can also check out the church and learn some South African history while they wait for you. 

Petrus Molefe Eco Park

If you’re looking for a more peaceful and scenic spot to watch the race, head to Petrus Molefe Eco Park. This lovely park is located about 400m (1312 ft) south-west of Regina Mundi Church and offers a serene and lush environment. 

You can settle down on a bench or a blanket and enjoy the fresh air, the birdsong, and the rippling water of the pond while cheering on the runners as they pass by.

Mofolo Park

Located in Mzimhlophe Southern Section of Soweto, the Botanical Gardens at Mofolo Park serve as a perfect spot for spectators to witness the beauty of Soweto, as this area boasts a diverse flora and fauna that is indigenous to Africa.  

The Route passes through the park, and this is a perfect place to get up close and personal with the runners. You’ll also experience a significant cultural aspect of the race, as the revitalized area surrounding this park is steeped in history and culture.

Vilakazi Street

This street is famous for being the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners have lived (Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu). It’s also a great spot for spectators to watch the marathon. With restaurants, cafes, and bars lining the streets, you can grab a quick bite to eat while cheering on the runners.

It also offers an intimate atmosphere where you can share your race experience with your family and friends while enjoying South Africa’s rich history.

Orlando Stadium

One of the best spots to watch the Soweto Marathon is the Orlando Stadium, which is approximately 30 km (18.6 miles) into the race. The stadium is situated in the heart of Soweto, and it offers a fantastic view of the marathon runners as they pass by. 

The festive atmosphere, combined with live music, makes the Orlando Stadium a must-visit destination for any marathon fan.

Pennyville Park: 33km (20.5 miles) Marker

The Pennyville Park sits at the 33km (20.5 miles) mark of the race. This is the perfect spot to catch the runners as they begin to tire and dig deep in the final stages of the race. 

The park offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere, with stunning views of the city in the background. You’ll be able to cheer on the runners as they take on this final stretch and witness the incredible determination and courage that they possess.

Finish Line – FNB Stadium

The finish line is where all the action happens. It’s an exciting place to be as you watch the runners cross the finish line, exhausted but satisfied. The atmosphere is electric, with music playing, supporters cheering, and photographers capturing memories. 

You’ll be caught up in the excitement, and your cheers will give marathoners that extra motivation to reach the finish line.

Spectating at a marathon can be a daunting experience. With thousands of runners, huge crowds, and a lot of noise, it can be difficult to know where to stand, what to bring, and what to expect. 

So, here are some essential tips and advice to help you navigate race day like a pro. 

Race Day Spectacting Tips

Plan Your Route In Advance 

The Soweto Marathon route covers approximately 42.2 km (26.2 miles), and it winds through the bustling streets of Soweto. As a spectator, you need to plan your route in advance to ensure that you get the best view of the race. 

Look at the official route map and identify the best vantage points to watch the runners. It’s also a good idea to arrive early, as the roads tend to get crowded as the day progresses.

Bring All The Necessary Gear 

Watching a marathon can be a long and tiring experience, so it’s essential to bring all the necessary gear to keep you comfortable and entertained. This includes comfortable walking shoes, plenty of water, and snacks. 

It’s also a good idea to bring a camera to capture the action and a foldable chair or blanket to sit on. Don’t forget to bring a map of the race route as well as your phone charger in case of emergencies.

Plan Your Accommodation in Advance

Finding accommodation in Soweto during the marathon weekend can be difficult. It’s important to plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance. 

It’s also important to aim for a location that’s near the start and finish line. That way, you won’t have to worry about navigating the traffic or struggling to find parking on race day.

Related: The BEST Hotels To Stay Near The Soweto Marathon Route

Be Respectful Of The Runners And Other Spectators 

The Soweto Marathon is a challenging race for the runners, and they need all the support they can get. As a spectator, it’s essential to be respectful of the runners and other spectators and not get in their way. Don’t block the race route or interfere with the runners. 

Cheer them on, but don’t shout or scream too loudly, as this can be distracting. Be mindful of the people around you, and don’t hog the best viewing spots.

Bring Along Some Entertainment

Fans and supporters of the Soweto Marathon can expect an electric atmosphere on race day. But, if you’re standing in one spot for an extended period of time, it can become tiring. It’s worth bringing along some form of entertainment, like a book or a portable music player, to keep you occupied.

Dress Appropriately

South Africa can get pretty hot, so make sure you dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. 

Also, keep in mind that you might be standing in the sun for long periods of time, so staying cool and comfortable is essential.

Get There Early

On race day, thousands of runners and spectators flock to Soweto, making it a busy and crowded day. To avoid the last-minute rush and find a good spot, you should arrive at the venue at least an hour before the start of the race. 

This will allow you enough time to navigate the streets, find the ideal location, and set up your viewing gear, such as binoculars, cameras, or flags.

Cheer On The Runners

One of the best ways to enjoy the Soweto Marathon is to cheer on the runners. As they pass by, shout words of encouragement, wave your flags, and applaud their efforts. You can also create posters or banners to motivate them or write their names on the signs for a personal touch. 

Remember that the Soweto Marathon is not just a competition but also a community event that celebrates the human spirit.

Enjoy The Atmosphere 

Remember to enjoy the atmosphere of the Soweto Marathon. This is a unique event that brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate the spirit of marathon running. Take in the sights and sounds of the race and experience the energy of the crowds. 

Respect The Rules And Regulations

Finally, it is essential to respect the rules and regulations of the Soweto Marathon and the local authorities. This includes not blocking the route, obeying the designated no-go zones, not littering or vandalizing the surroundings, and avoiding excessive alcohol or unruly behaviour. 

Keeping a courteous and respectful attitude will ensure a peaceful and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The Soweto Marathon is a fantastic event, and whether you’re a runner or a spectator, there’s something for everyone. The event fosters community spirit and serves as a platform to promote fitness and wellness. 

As a spectator, you’re an integral part of the event, cheering and motivating the runners along the route. With these spectator spots, you’ll be able to create unforgettable memories and be a part of a fantastic experience.


Devlin Eyden has a passion for seeing his athletes grow and excel. From novice runners or cyclists across all disciplines to elite mountain bikers representing South Africa at World Championships. In addition to helping you ride faster, for longer, Devlin also has the personal touch when it comes to your bike setup, aiming at improving the overall rider experience. With his background as a Sport Scientist as well as a Strength & Conditioning specialist, performance is Devlin’s main priority, be it in the gym, the lab or out on the road or trails. Being a keen runner & cyclist and having completed the Cape Epic among others, Devlin has first hand experience in what it take to reach your goals. If you’re looking for a once-off training program or ongoing, high touch support Devlin has you covered.

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