"

Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester


Monday, February 27, 2012

Some SA Running Rules

In my previous post I mentioned something about rules and regulations and not being allowed to advertise in races here in South Africa. This caused quite a reaction so I decided to post more about running in South Africa.

The main reaction was about me saying we have to run in plain/blank t-shirts as advertising is not permitted. This is a very serious and strict rule. If you don’t belong to a club and therefore don’t run in club colors, you must wear plain clothing and not display any brand or logo on your shirt or shorts.

There is a very strong club structure in road running here in South Africa and most runners belong to a club. Every year you register and get a license number for the year from the province where you reside. This is my 2012 running license from CGA (Central Gauteng Athletics). I have to wear this with my club colors for every race I do. Some races will have its own number and then the license will go on your back with the race number at the front. Some races have two numbers but you can’t enter these without your license number or by buying a temporary license for the race.


I have to wear my club colors as it is registered with CGA and ASA (Athletics South Africa). For example, I am not allowed to wear any other color shorts than black with my club vest/shirt. The club color is black and any other color is not allowed. There are hundreds of running clubs inSouth Africa, all with their club colors that the members have to wear with their license numbers for the year. If you don’t belong to a club you have to buy a temporary license at R25.00 per race and wear that on your plain clothes. No advertising allowed!


South African runners are not allowed to enter the Comrades Marathon if they don’t belong to a club. In Comrades you are not allowed to wear a hat or anything that does not have the race or sponsor’s logo on it. It you wear you New Balance or Adidas hat/cap you will be disqualified. With that, as in all other races you have to wear your correct club colors. I remember in 1997 I wore an old Kellogs 32km t-shirt inside out over my club vest the first few kilometers of Comrades because it was cold. At 7km a race marshal pulled me off the road and I had to remove the shirt before I could continue the race.



Trail running does not require club membership yet, but most races will have some rules about clothing and advertising. Most races will also not allow runners to run shirtless. This can lead to disqualification from the race.

All these rules may sound strict and a bit way out to some, but if it wasn’t for the clubs and their members we wouldn’t have so many races to choose from every weekend here in SA. Most clubs host races and that’s why I can literally choose from 2 to 4 races every weekend. It may well be silly rules with club colors and shirts, but I’d rather have that and then many races to choose from than no clubs and few races to run.


Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!

29 comments:

Kate said...

I guess that solves you worrying about what to wear for a race! :) My club pushes wearing its gear/colors at races, but that's half advertisement and half to make it easier for the club photographers to pick you out of the crowd.

Indi said...

Wow...that is so interesting! Pretty structured, but as long as it works I guess its all good!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Crazy how different it is. But you're right, if it weren't for these clubs then you wouldn't have as many racing options.

misszippy said...

Very interesting! To we Americans, yes, it seems strict. But I'm sure it's all a matter of what you are used to doing and everyone can adjust to something if they need to. Thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

Wow. So different than here in California. I have not raced out of state, so I don't know, but I doubt it is so strict. We definitely do not have to belong to a club. And with trail racing, it's a whole different thing. Some races are even "illegal," racing without permits even. I would be hard pressed to even find a shirt without some kind of logo. Super interesting post. Thanks! I always find it fascinating how other countries do the things we do here.

Marlene said...

That's interesting and so different from what we are accustomed to here. I can't imagine having all of those restrictions on clothing, but I guess it makes it easy to identify others in your club which is neat. Thanks for sharing!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

That's really cool - a lot easier to find teammates at a race!

Christi said...

That is very interesting to see.

Jerry Smallwood said...

Interesting read, I never knew it was ssooo strict but a good idea about the licence number being worn. In the UK we have Competiton Licences but I have never been asked to show it to an organiser.

Mike said...

I always wondered why you wore what appeared to be the same shirt in your pictures! Thanks Johann for sharing.

Paul said...

Hi Johann,

That is kind of strange sounding. But all the clubs and races are nice!

I'm glad us "aliens" can run the Comrades...and 'm glad I have a hat with no writing on it!

Jill said...

I'd probably wake up each race and panic that I wore the wrong thing and would be DQ'd. I guess if I ever made it out to run the Comrades, I'd be an outcast without a team shirt on. Can I borrow one ;)?

I bet you're looking forward to Pikes Peak where you get to wear whatever the heck you want to!

Teamarcia said...

Fascinating. I was wondering the same thing as Jill. Do foreigners need to belong to a club and/or get a running license then?

Ewa said...

Interesting. Of course there is nothing they can do about running shoes, can they. ;-)

So since you kind of have to belong to a running club, does that mean you have to attend certain training sessions?

Char said...

It's so interesting to hear how other countries do it. South Africa seems to have one of the strongest running fraternities in the world. IT's very impressive. And I'm guessing from what you said that you can't have club sponsors' names on your club singlets.

It was good to see on Facebook how well Spiral is doing. He looks so full of mischief.

ajh said...

Thanks for filling us in. It would be great to have lots of races to choose from. Living in a less populated area I don't have a lot of races to choose from and have to travel to many.

HappyTrails said...

Makes shopping easy ;-) And from some of the "physiques" we've seen uncovered at races that should have stayed covered, that mandatory shirt deal is all right too!!!

Alma said...

Wow, that's very interesting. I guess if companies don't sponsor races then you have to pay for them somehow. But it seems like that system would discourage some people from entering - more likely only more serious runners would join. And this means...races with no sparkle skirts?!?!!!

Char said...

The snake in my pic was a carpet snake - it's a variety of python. It's non-venomous but can still give you a nasty infection if it bites you.

Anne said...

That is so different than here, where everyone loves to advertise for another race or vendor on their chests and backs. (And I like cotton T-shirts too!)

lindsay said...

That sounds kind of annoying -- I am so used to just putting on a tshirt and going. I guess it is not that big of a deal once you have a couple club uniforms to wear. Kind of cool that everyone looks like part of organized teams like high school or college racing.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

I kind of like the no advertisement rule. I bet it makes races (and t-shirts!) feel a lot less cluttered.

Molly said...

I echo everyone else, very interesting. I like the club idea, gives you a chance to connect with people you might not have met otherwise.

Christina said...

I like the no advertisement rule also. If more sports were like that, then athletes wouldn't get million dollar sponsors driving up our prices. It drives me crazy football players get millions of dollar for playing.

I wonder if race/club requirements limits the number of new runners breaking into the sport.

Raina said...

Wow! That is strict! But i do like the organization to it, and the fact that you have more races to choose from that way. It makes me wonder how far you have to go for a race.

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

I had no idea that is how South Africa rolls :-) Interesting read. Assuming you'll be here in the states this fall (maybe I'll be in Colorado), hope you take full advantage of not having to wear a certain outfit.

Black Knight said...

Interesting post about your strict rules. Here I never wear the "uniform" of my club because my clothes are better (and more expensive). The color of my club "Anna Baby Runners" (a shop for babies) is red .... but I wear black items.

Julie said...

Hi Johann! Good to see you are still at it! I miss reading your blog. I must go back and read what you have been up to.:) Take care!

Amy said...

Glad to see Spiral is doing better (post above this) and the running club tradition is very interesting! We have clubs here in Belgium but we certainly don't have to belong to one to do races, and I don't think anyone cares what we wear (as long as we wear something! - LOL!)