Are you excited for the Soweto Marathon? I know I am! 

However, before you lace up your running shoes and head to the start line, there’s one important stop you need to make – the Soweto Marathon Expo. 

As a participant, the Soweto Expo is the perfect opportunity to pick up your race pack, check out new running gear, and soak up the pre-race excitement. 

But what exactly can you expect at the Expo, and what essentials should you prepare for?

In this participant’s handbook, I’m here to guide you through the Soweto Marathon Expo essentials, so you can make the most of your pre-race experience and feel race-ready.

So, let’s dive in…

Where Is The Soweto Marathon Located?

This three-day event takes place at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Event Hours:

  • Thursday to Friday: 09:00-19:00
  • Saturday: 08:30-18:00

Get Yourself Race-Ready – Race Pack Collection

First things first – you want to make sure you have all the gear you need to tackle the 10km (6.2 miles), 21km (13 miles), or 42.2 km (26.2 miles) distance. The Soweto Marathon Expo is the perfect place to pick up essentials such as a race number and a disposable timing chip.

Arriving at the Expo ahead of time is crucial to ensure you have time to collect your race packet. 

This will not only save you time on race day but will also ensure that you have everything you need ahead of time. Make sure you also bring along a copy of your ID and confirmation email to make pick-up quick and hassle-free.

Are You Unable To Pick Up Your Race Packet For The Soweto Marathon?

In contrast to some other marathons, the Soweto Marathon permits someone else to collect your race packet on your behalf.

If someone else is collecting your race pack on your behalf, they must present the following:

  • Your confirmation slip
  • A photocopy of YOUR ID, driver’s license, or passport
  • A Letter of Authorization signed by you, granting permission for the collection
  • Their own ID

Note: Bulk collections are not permitted.

Interactive Exhibits and Activities

The Soweto Marathon Expo isn’t just about essential race needs; it’s also a chance to learn more about the running community. You’ll find a host of interactive exhibits and activities, such as fitness demos, talks from running coaches, and wellness stations. 

The Expo is a great opportunity for companies to display their products, create brand recognition, and introduce new items.

Various exhibitors will present a wide range of products, including footwear, apparel, supplements, nutritional products, and the latest tech gear.

This diverse selection ensures that you can explore a variety of products and services that match your running preferences and requirements.

This is an excellent opportunity to connect with other runners and get inspired for the race. You’ll also find a range of sponsor booths and pop-up shops where you can grab goodies and take advantage of exclusive discounts.

Soweto Marathon Race Day Preparation 

While you’re at the Expo, don’t forget to take advantage of top tips from the experts. Listen to running coaches, physical therapists, and professional athletes who can offer advice on race day preparation, including stretching tips, nutrition advice, and injury prevention. 

This is your chance to get all the information you need to help you prepare both physically and mentally for the race and make the most of your experience.

How To Get To The Soweto Marathon Expo

Private Transportation – the most convenient way to get to the marathon expo if you’re staying in Johannesburg is by using private transportation. 

Many hotels and tour operators offer shuttle services to the expo from various parts of Johannesburg. 

Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive yourself to the expo. Just be aware that traffic can be heavy on race weekend, so plan accordingly.

Ride-Sharing Services – if you’re comfortable using ride-sharing services like Uber or Bolt, you can hail a ride to the expo from your location. This is a convenient and affordable option, and you can split the fare with other runners if you’re traveling together. 

Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to account for traffic and any possible delays.

Bicycle – if you’re feeling adventurous and want to get some exercise before the race, you can rent a bicycle and ride to the expo. The City of Johannesburg has a bike-sharing program called Bike Park, which allows you to rent a bike for an hourly fee. 

Just make sure to wear appropriate gear, bring a map or GPS, and be aware of your surroundings.

Walking – if you’re staying close to the FNB Stadium, you can opt to walk to the expo. This is a good option if you want to warm up before the race and soak up the atmosphere of the township. 

Just be aware that some routes may not be well-lit, so it’s best to walk with a group.

As you plan your trip, we understand the importance of finding the right accommodation to help ensure the success of your trip. That is why in this blog post, we will explore some of the best hotels where you can stay near the Soweto Marathon Expo.

Where To Stay Near The Soweto Marathon Expo

Tips For Navigating the Soweto Marathon Expo

1. Plan Ahead:

Before heading to the Expo, take a moment to review the schedule of events and vendors. This simple step will help you prioritize what you want to see and do, ensuring you make the most of your time there.

2. Arrive Early:

The Expo tends to get crowded, especially on the bustling Friday and Saturday. Getting there early provides you with ample time to explore without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by the crowds.

3. Wear Comfortable Shoes:

Given the number of vendors and exhibitors, you’ll be covering a lot of ground. Wear comfortable shoes to ward off foot pain or blisters. Avoid flip-flops, and opt for shoes that cover the Achilles for better support. 

This precaution not only protects your feet but also minimizes the risk of accidents, especially in busy areas.

4. Pack a Backpack:

Given the multitude of free samples and promotional materials, it’s wise to bring a backpack or tote bag to conveniently carry them all. This way, you can collect goodies without worrying about juggling multiple items.

5. Stay Hydrated:

Ensure you stay hydrated during your Expo exploration, especially if you plan to spend several hours there. Bring a refillable water bottle to quench your thirst and avoid the need to purchase bottled water.

6. Ask Questions:

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Vendors and exhibitors are present to assist and provide information about their products or services. Take advantage of this opportunity to gather insights and make informed choices.

7. Use Discounts:

Keep an eye out for special discounts and promotions offered by various vendors. Capitalize on these deals to save money on your purchases. 

8. Learn from Experts:

Seize the opportunity to attend various seminars and talks at the Soweto Marathon Expo. These sessions cover essential topics like training, nutrition, race strategy, and injury prevention. Benefit from valuable insights shared by experienced coaches and industry experts. 

Notably, our own coach, Devlin Eyden, was a featured speaker at the Soweto Marathon Runners Workshop, adding to the wealth of knowledge available in the lead-up to the 2023 African Bank Soweto Marathon!

9. Be Cautious with Freebies:

Exercise caution when it comes to free samples and goodies. While tempting, these could potentially impact your gastrointestinal health and race day success. Instead, collect them in a bag and resist the urge to try them until after the marathon.

10. Be Mindful of Time on Your Feet:

While we encourage you to savor the atmosphere at the expo, it’s crucial not to get carried away in the excitement. Spending excessive time on your feet can be counterproductive, especially when you’re gearing up for the 42.2 km (26.2 miles) main event. 

Set a timeline for yourself, aiming not to stay for more than 1-2 hours. Prioritize resting your legs to ensure you’re in the best shape for the upcoming marathon, the highlight of the week!

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

Your pre-race experience is as exciting as the event itself, and the Soweto Marathon Expo is the perfect chance to immerse yourself in the race-day atmosphere and pick up all your essentials ahead of time. 

Remember to get there early, bring along any necessary paperwork, stock up on energy products and hydration, and take time to explore all the interactive exhibits. 

With this participant’s handbook, you’re sure to be fully race-ready for the Soweto Marathon. Good luck!


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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