Last updated: 28-12-18

A fter a bit of experimentation with our #fktsegmentchallenges to date, I’m excited to chat about the next progression, which I hope will be a highly enjoyable fixture amongst Cape Town’s fastest. Enter the Micro-Race Series.

Being a lover of the activity platform Strava, I’ve long noted the increased prevalence of trail-runners taking up the challenge by friends to not only “better their times” upon specific trails (known as a segments within Strava) but also to treat these routes as “races”, duelling it out to see who can claim the top spot along a favourite route. Sounds like fun right?

Simply put we’re aiming to setup a series of micro-races along Cape Town trails that exhibit unique characteristics – ie challenging a certain aspect of trail running, like descending. The identified routes will be no more than 20km (think fast), with a select group of trail runners trying to clock their fastest times, challenging the overall route FKT (fastest known time), while competing to see who can take the top step on race day.

Each individual micro-race will have a maximum of about 35 runners that have been handpicked and/or have prequalified. Participants that do well within each race will be offered a place in the next one, in order to stand a chance to compete within a year-long championship based upon their efforts within the overall series.

Simply put, we want to create a bespoke competitive showdown along prized Strava segments throughout a series of micro races, during the course of a calendar year, towards the end of which qualifying runners will all line up for a grand finale to take the Championship title.

G iven that we’re aiming to see the fastest times on “race-day” by having an invite-only and Strava based entry mechanism. Now that may sound weird, but let me elaborate:

Strava Segment Based Entries (Qualification):

In order to gain an entry via the Strava process, you’ve got from the date of this article (12/11) until the 31 December 2018 to run your best time along the Constantia Classic TT route being sure to include #MicroRaceSeries in the description. Fastest times will be first in line, working down the Strava leaderboard (skipping those given direct invites). This “qualification” based entry mechanism will make up 70% of the 35 participant cap (eg 25 runners are eligible via qualification).

Organizers Discretion (Invite Only):

Once again, given that we want to see how fast a route can be pushed, we’re aiming to invite some of the fastest runners that we think will not only add to the overall experience of the event, but produce some stellar times for others to shoot for. This “invite only” based entry mechanism will make up 30% of the 35 participant cap (eg 10 runners are eligible via invite only).

A final list of all 35 entrants will be published before each race and sent out via our mailing list, so please be sure to signup. It’s also important to note that although we’re aiming to make this as fast as possible, everyone stands a chance to get involved, so give it your best and have a go at the route no matter what. Sharing your effort with us via social media may sway things in your favour (jokes, kinda)!

What’s important to note is that although these micro-races will be organized in a sense that we will be doing our best to create a memorable experience for all on the day, they should be technically viewed as “organized training runs”, just like any club meet or recce. The 35 runners that participate on the day will be trying to take the FKT (for the route) plus win prizes from the generous brands that support the FKTseries project. There will be timing, results and beer, plus a few other elements geared towards making this one seriously heated showdown.

W ith all that said, we’re excited to announce our inaugural micro-race which is set along a much loved Cape Town route that many a runner will know. Not only is this stretch of trail inherently beautiful because of its variety in terrain underfoot, its flowy attributes and ideal distance; the route is a prized FKT amongst the fastest runners in town, with many a Strava battle having been waged over the years.

“We’re excited to announce our inaugural micro-race which is set along a much loved Cape Town route that many a runner will know”

Introducing the “Constantia Classic TT”. Quite simply, and to quote course record holder (1h38) Jonathan Black: “It’s 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.”

The Constantia Classic TT will be held on the 12 January 2019 (08:00am tbc), in Cape Town. Save the date and come support runners along the route. Visit the new Micro Race Series (MRS) home here.

B elow are the main aspects of the Micro Race Series, including the fundamentals about the Championship. This, along with all other information will be detailed on the official website:

Entry:

As detailed above 30% (10) entries will given out at our discretion, and 70% (25) will be made available via Strava qualification process. Where a runner is extended an option to participate (whether by direct invite or qualification), he or she will have 3 days in which to accept it in writing, otherwise, the entry will be passed onto the next runner in line. Runners will be asked to contribute a small fee towards the running of this platform and sign a participation agreement. 

Timing:

When it comes to timing, we’re keeping it old school with a stopwatch and human being combo (with Strava as a backup). Runner’s will be required to have an active Strava account which needs to be used in conjunction with a GPS watch (smartphones will work as they are the one compulsory item). Results will be posted and mailed directly as soon as they are available.

Race Briefing:

A race briefing will be organized on the week prior (details tbc) to race day, at a location within CBD Cape Town. At this briefing, opportunities will rise for participants to ask questions and gather any additional information they may require, and a video/episode (signup to our YouTube here) of the course route will be screened on this date.

The Championship:

A series of races will be held throughout a calendar year, and runners that come in the Top 10 of any one race, will earn points dependant on their respective positions. After each race, an overall championship leaderboard will be updated to reflect these latest earned points. At the end of the final race of the calendar year, the top 3 men & women with the most points will be crowned the years Micro Race Series Champions. A dedicated website will be in place for runners and supporters to follow throughout the year.

Scoring: The Top 10 Men & Women (separate) working down from 1st place: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, ,4, 2pts.

Additional Rules: The top 3 males & females of each race will automatically be given an entry into the next race. Any runner that sets a new FKT (via Strava) along the race route will earn an additional 2pts. Any runner that achieves a back-to-back win will earn an additional 2pts. There may be bonus points on offer unique to each race. A DNF will attract a deficit of -2pts (can go into negatives). A DNS will attract a deficit of -5pts (unless of a proven medical issue).

There are sure to be a few tweaks and changes to the functioning of the Championship as we build up to the first event, but this should give you a good idea as to how it will all work. See the full Rules & FAQ’s here.

Some key information about the Micro-Race Series:

  • See the official MRS website:
  • Participants: maximum of 35 total per race
  • Race Series Location: Around Table Mountain, Cape Town
  • First Micro-Race: Constantia Classic TT | Saturday, 12 January 2019
  • Participants will be asked to contribute a small fee towards the FKTseries
  • Participant Gender Split: 50/50 (25 entries total are available through Strava).
  • Championship: The series of micro-races will form part of a year-long championship
  • Entries available: (30%/10) Invitational and (70%/25) based upon your Strava qualifier ranking.

As always, thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this, I really appreciate “your eyes and ears”. To stay in the loop, please be sure to follow the fktseries project by signing up to our newsletter for words, on Instagram for images, and YouTube for videos, plus feel free to join our Strava Club. Lastly, any feedback or commentary you may have is highly prized, good or bad, so don’t be shy to share it: hello@fktseries.co.za is the best place.

Cheers,

Lucas R Adams (@lucasradams)