Route Overview 🏔
A 20km out-and-back route along the iconic contour path, with around 1000m of elevation gain. This route takes in a great mixture of terrains ranging from the fast jeep-track section to the highly technical rock-gardens along the way. A route that may look fairly flat on paper, but is deceptively hilly with two tough climbs at 5m and 15km. This route is perfect for a long run but is also a very competitive time trial segment for those who like a bit of competition. Be careful on the (very slippery) wooden boardwalks if you’re doing the route in the rain.
🛈 Technicality: How technically demanding the trail terrain is underfoot.
🛈 Difficulty: How difficult the route is with regards to vertical gain, endurance, and navigation.
🛈 Safety: How safe the route is with regards to exposure, technical challenges, and personal safety.
Segment Overview 🏆
Underestimate this segment at your peril. It’ll test your strength, endurance, speed, and concentration! The most important aspect of attacking this segment is to get the pacing right; start too fast and you’ll be a wreck before even reaching halfway. Here are a few tips on how best to approach it:
The segment begins with 3km of jeep track. This section allows for some pretty fast running, but you definitely want to hold a steady effort here as things are only going to get harder. The next 2km consists of some wonderful (fairly fast) single track – this section is definitely one to be enjoyed as you take in the views above Kirstenbosch Gardens. Push it on the downhills, but keep your effort controlled on the flatter parts of this section. At the 5km mark you’ll hit your biggest climb of the segment; the infamous “400 stairs”. This section can make or break your effort – push too hard and your legs will feel it for the remaining 15km! The trick here is to power-hike in the most efficient way you can – keeping the cadence respectable and minimizing the time between each step. Take a few seconds at the top of this climb to take in the views. The other side of this climb features a fairly technical downhill where you can allow yourself a bit of recovery time – or even gain some time if you’re a strong downhill runner.
The next 4km are the toughest of this segment. Rocky, slippery, technical and uphill. You want to be as light on your feet as possible through these rocky sections, trying to ‘dance’ your way through the numerous rock gardens and river crossings. This section also features around 2km of running on boardwalks - I’d recommend your try to push these section fairly hard, as the more technical parts in between will allow a bit of recovery. The last 500m towards the turnstile (your turnaround point) is fast and flowing – so allow yourself to pick up some speed here and don’t be too distracted by the views!
After you hit the turnstile, it’s a quick turnaround and back the same way you came. Keep your effort in check for the first 4km as you try to move as efficiently as possible over the technical sections. Then it’s a slog up and down the stairs again, and then gun it for home! The final jeep-track climb is a proper test of your mental strength, but just keep grinding and it’ll be over quickly. Once you hit 18.5km it’s all downhill to the finish, so let those legs fly and finish strongly.