This was my first race this year on table mountain – and even though I’ve hiked plenty over these paths, it seems my memory is failing me, because I completely under estimated the difficulty of the route. For some reason I thought the profile was straight up, then level for most of the time, and then straight down again. NOT!
If you’re reading these because you’re thinking of running this event – then be warned now: It’s a leg breaker of note. Ignore the poultry 13.8km distance, and check out the finishing times of previous year events. I’m about a 5 min/km pace road runner for this distance, and I took just over 2:30 to complete the route. A handful over runners posted 4+ hour times. I’ve recently run a marathon ; completed a half marathon and Die Burger Cycle Tour (92km without any cycle training) on the same weekend ; all without any stiff legs. 13.8km of mountain running, and I can barely walk!
Warnings aside, this really is a great run – offering landscape scenery on both sides of the mountain. The run was well organised by quantum adventures, and well marked with little orange ribbons guiding the way – which I need, because I have absolutely no sense of direction.
The parking and finish was at the toad on the road, from which we had to walk about 1.8km to the start on Boyes drive. I’d advise heading up to the start at least 30mins before the start time.
The start was a staggered start – releasing 25 runners every 2 minutes up the single-track route – something I wish more single-track events would do: it results in a lot less congestion. The first group was seeding with the faster runners – they make it look easy running up that steep ascent:
I was in the second-to-last group. We were given our race instructions, and then merrily sent up the mountain to replace our legs with rubber bands.
Weather-wise it was quite interesting – as almost expected with running on table mountain. The base of the route (on both side of the mountain) was quite warm and clear, but once you reach to top, it changes into a much cooler mist-covered blustery landscape.
Coming down the other side of the mountain is probably was did my legs in, so if there’s any place to take it easy, this part of the route is probably it.
The most scenic part of the run is probably once you reach the other side of the mountain – offering some great views, and a natures treat of the local fynbos fauna and flora
Once we rounded some of the mountain, it was back up into the mist, and down the other side for more punishment
The last 2km or so was a down hill wind-supported run on paved road, which I think the legs much preferred.
This year we ran the route in a clockwise direction (opposite of last year) – so it would seem the route can vary each year - which gives me a reason to come back next year once I can walk properly again.