Prof. Tim Noakes



Trainsmart expert - Prof. Tim Noakes

Timothy Noakes is Professor in the Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town.  He is also Director of the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and co-founder with Morné du Plessis of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa of which he is presently the Executive Co-Director.  Whilst a student at UCT, he rowed for the South African Universities for two consecutive seasons and was awarded University full Blue colours.  He began long distance running in 1972 and, at the time of his last marathon in 1990, had run more than 70 marathon and ultra-marathon races including 7 Comrades Marathons (best time 6 hours 49 minutes) and 15 Two Oceans Marathons (best time 3 hours 59 minutes).  Thereafter he was active in cycling and triathlon events and completed the Argus 105km Cycle race on 8 occasions.

Noakes is the author or co-author of more than 450 scientific publications and is on the Editorial Boards of 17 international scientific publications.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.



In 1992, he was elected a Fellow of the University of Cape Town for sustained excellence in original scientific work.  In 1992 and 1993 he was also one of the three finalists for the Burroughs Wellcome Gold Medal award for Medical Research.  In 1993 he received the Medical Research Council Publications award for the best publication record in the previous three years by a South African medical scientist.  In 1996 he was awarded the Citation Award of the American College of Sports Medicine and was the first African and one of very few non-North Americans to present the prestigious J B Wolffe Memorial Lecture at the American College of Sports Medicine.  In 1999 he was elected as one of 22 founding members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Science Academy.  In 2001 he received the International Cannes Grand Prix Award for Research in Medicine and Water, for his studies of water intoxication in athletes.  In 2002 he received the Doctor of Science degree from the University of Cape Town.

His book Lore of Running is in its fourth edition in South Africa and the United States and has been translated into Japanese.  It is widely praised as the most complete such book yet written – the “Bible” of running.  In 2003, Lore of Running was awarded the University of Cape Town Book Award.  Noakes is also co-author of Running Injuries (with Steve Granger), Lore of Cycling, Running Your Best (with Steve Granger), Rugby Without Risk (with Morné du Plessis) and Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket (with Bob Woolmer).  He has also authored his scientific autobiography, Challenging Beliefs, which was published in 2011 and Waterlogged: The serious problem of overhydration in endurance sport, which was published in May 2012 and covers research obtained over a period of over 20 years.


Key Points

  • Professor in the Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town.
  • Author of Lore of Running.
  • Author or co-author of more than 450 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals.
  • A1 rated scientist by the National Research Foundation (highest possible rating).
  • Recipient of the National Foundation for Research and Technology Award for “Individual over a life time” in 2006.
  • Recipient of Men’s Health Best Man Award in Science and Technology for 2006
  • Co-author of Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket.
  • Recipient of Order of Mapungubwe: Silver (OMS) award.  Awarded by the President for excellent contribution in the field of sports and the science of physical exercise in 2008.
  • Recipient of the IMMDA Lifetime achievement in marathon sports medicine research award in 2009.
  • Nominated Sport Legend for 2010 by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in 2010.
  • NRF lifetime achievement award for his contribution to sports science research in 2012.