Are you an avid marathon runner or someone who aspires to run in the Soweto Marathon? 

The Soweto Marathon is one of the world’s most popular and iconic marathons. Each year, thousands of runners from around the world travel to Johannesburg to take on this challenging race. 

One question on the minds of many who are considering running this marathon is, do you need to qualify? If you’re curious about the answer, then keep reading.

Do You Need To Qualify For The Soweto Marathon?

The answer to whether you need to qualify for the Soweto Marathon is no. 

Unlike the Boston Marathon, which requires runners to meet specific time standards, the Soweto Marathon is open to anyone interested in running it. 

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, you can register for The Soweto marathon. All you need to do is complete the registration process, pay the entry fee, and then train hard to prepare for the race.

How To Enter The Soweto Marathon?

To enter the Soweto Marathon, sign up on the official marathon website. Remember, registration usually starts months before the event and closes when the participant limit is reached. Early registration is key, given the high demand. Provide all required personal details promptly during the sign-up process. Don’t miss the chance to secure your spot!

How Much Does It Cost To Enter The Soweto Marathon

Participating in the Soweto Marathon comes with varying costs, depending on your chosen category:

  • Soweto Marathon: R380- R420
  • Half-Marathon: R300- R340
  • 10K (6.2 miles) Race: R280- R310

The fees may differ for South African residents and international participants. Some packages may include race merchandise or additional benefits. 

Keep in mind that these costs are subject to change, and it’s recommended to check the official website for the latest entry fees. Importantly, all entry fees are non-refundable.

Who Can Run The Soweto Marathon?

Age Limits:

  • For the 42.2km/26.2 miles race: Participants must be at least 20 years old on race day.
  • For the 21.1km/13.1 miles race: Participants must be at least 16 years old on race day.
  • For the 10km/6.2 miles race: Participants must be at least 15 years old on race day.

For International Participants:

  • You need a letter from your home governing body and must follow specific rules.
  • International participants can’t use an ASA provincial license; they must get a temporary license to avoid disqualification.
  • Running in club colours is allowed only if the club exists in your home country, you have a refugee status permit, or you’re a naturalized citizen of RSA.

Just because you don’t need to qualify doesn’t mean that you can take the Soweto Marathon lightly. This is a challenging marathon that requires serious training, discipline, and commitment. 

It’s a 42.2 km (26.2 miles) race that takes place on hilly terrain, making it one of the most gruelling marathons in the world. 

If you’re serious about running this race, then you need to start preparing months in advance to ensure that you’re physically fit and mentally ready.

How Do You Prepare For The Soweto Marathon?

One of the best ways to prepare for the Soweto Marathon is to follow a structured training plan

A good training plan will help you build up your endurance, improve your speed and strength, and prevent injuries. It’s also a good idea to run on similar terrain to what you’ll find on race day. 

This means finding hills to run up and down, as well as practising on uneven surfaces if possible. Make sure you also fuel your body with healthy foods and stay hydrated to ensure that you’re in peak condition on race day.

Related: Soweto Marathon Route Breakdown: Everything You Need To Know

When Should You Start Your Soweto Marathon Training

Preparing for the Soweto Marathon involves more than just putting in miles. It’s about a holistic approach that considers various key elements, each playing a role in your readiness.

For optimal prep for the Soweto Marathon, it’s a good idea to kick off your training around 16 to 20 weeks before the race day. This gives you the chance to gradually boost your stamina, ensuring you’re in peak condition when it matters most.

In the initial phase, spanning roughly 4 to 8 weeks, focus on building a robust foundation. This involves consistent running to get your body accustomed to training and establishing a regular routine. 

By gradually upping your running distance and incorporating regular workouts, you’re laying the groundwork for more intense training in the future.

Once that solid foundation is set, it’s time to elevate your training. Approximately 12 weeks before race day, typically in mid-August, you can kick off your official Soweto Marathon training plan. 

This phase includes targeted workouts designed to enhance your speed, endurance, and overall performance come race day.

Related: Couch To Soweto Marathon – The Ultimate Training Guide

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Soweto Marathon is more than just a race. It’s a celebration of South African culture, heritage, and the resilience of the human spirit. 

The race takes you through the historic streets of Soweto and past iconic landmarks like the Vilakazi Street precinct, where Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived. 

So, while you’re running the race, take the time to soak up the culture and history of this vibrant city.

In conclusion, you don’t need to qualify for the Soweto Marathon, but you do need to take it seriously. This is a challenging race that requires a lot of preparation and hard work. If you’re up for the challenge, then embrace it with open arms. 

Follow a good training plan, fuel your body with healthy food, and stay hydrated. And remember to enjoy the journey. This race is more than just a marathon; it’s an experience of a lifetime. So, why not sign up for the Soweto Marathon today?


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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