Header shot by Kyle Kingsley Green | Last Updated: 29-04-19

1. Introduction

I t seems like just yesterday that the year started, yet already we’re heading into April, and with it, the start of the buildup to our next micro race series event for the 2019 MRS Championship.

Enter, the Platteklip Vertical Kilometer. This one is simple, and there’s not much explaining that needs to be done, but that doesn’t mean its any easier! The guidelines of a Vertical Kilometer Race can be understood by referring to the right-angled-triangle: the height represents the minimum amount of required elevation gain (1000m), while the length represents the maximum distance (5000m) allowed to obtain that gain in. The result is an average % grade of climbing throughout the VK race, steep enough to force oneself to “buckle to the knees” and suffer (don’t we just love that though).

Quite simply, it’s an all out climb to the top. A race where the start and the finish are at either ends of the course, separated only by a 1000m of elevation gain. Platteklip Gorge (or “Platties” as its fondly known as) is quiet literally the “godfather” of climbs in Cape Town to many, and although it may have a reputation for not being quite as star-studded as, say, Kloof Corner Ridge, it does offer a no frills torrent of consistent switches backs that allow a runner to dial into a rhythm to see what he or she is made of. Platties is also a lot more accessible and safe for anyone to attempt, given the absence of chain-climbing and perilous drops (we do love that, but no ones wants accidents on race day). This infamous climb coupled with a “warm up” hill start from Garden Centre up through Deer Park and the lower Tafelberg slopes makes this over vertical kilometre route ideal for the amateur or elite.

Ready to put your lactate with your mouth is? We hope so…

1.1 The Qualifying Segment

1.2 The Race Route

2. Overview

2.1 Initial:

As with the CC and the DOD, once again the field will be limited to just 35 contenders, who will all line up and set off at the same time, like a traditional race, finishing at the end of the race route (A-B). The first person to the top is the winner overall winner. Easy 🙂

2.2 Days Proceedings:

The #PlatteklipVK will take place on the morning of 05 May 2019 at 07:30am, right outside the Garden Centre, from the corner of Upper Buitenkant & Upper Mill Street (here) and will end at the summit of Platteklip Gorge (at the Platteklip beacon).

Once the last person has made their way up, all 35 contenders will be taking a leisurely shuffle to the Table Mountain Aerial Cable Station for a “cafe prizing giving” like no other. Once we’re all wrapped up, with the sun rising behind us and a 1000m of climbing in the bag, the contenders will be free to either descend all the way back down form whence they came, or they may make use of the services of the Cable Way.

MRS points (see the Leaderboard) will be distributed for runner’s coming in the Top 10 (as usual), with various bonus points up for grabs (details closer to the time) specific to this race.

2.3 Qualification & Entry:

As with the first MRS event the PlatteklipVK will have a total of 35 contenders, approximately 70% of which will be made up from the Strava segment based qualification process (the remaining 30% will be invited directly).

For this third event, the qualifying Strava segment will be “FKTseries: Platteklip Qualifier“: the segment starts at the base of a very steep concrete jeep track just above Bridle Road, and ends at top when you reach Tafelberg Road. Be sure to start/stop your watch a little earlier/later to ensure you capture the segment. Upon uploading your effort (in the event you cant see it, let us know) include “#MicroRaceSeries Platteklip VK” in the title of your Strava activity for it to be eligible.

Entries through this qualification process will be open till (and on) 28th April 2019. No late entries will be considered and the organisers decisions is final.

2.4 Prizes & Post Race:

We’re still debating whether we’ll be opting for beer so early in the morning, so for now we’re saying that a “cafe/coffee prize giving” will be the way forward to keep everyone warm and happy at the Table Mountain Cable Way. Let us know your thoughts though (Instagram DM etc)!?

2.5 Supporters:

This is an ideal race to come support given that the route upwards affords multiple locations to catch your runner coming past. Please come along and show your support throughout this epic morning of climbing – we recommend the base of Platteklip Gorge along Tafelberg as the best spot. Race start time is 07:30am with the current course record being 00:50:48.

The last few metres of Platteklip Gorge before reaching the beacon.

3. Specifics

  • A group qualifying round will take place in April (date TBC) to allow those not certain of the route, to set their times in a group environment.
  • Limited entries available based upon your qualifier ranking on FKTseries: Platteklip Qualifier leaderboard.
  • Start Location: is outside the Garden Centre, at the corner of Upper Buitenkant & Upper Mill Street (here).
  • There will be prizes for the Top 3 Men & Women, kindly provided by Jack Blacks Brewery & Bos Ice Tea.
  • Once the final 35 contenders have been established, a public list will be made available to review.
  • Strava based qualifications are open until 28 April 2019 (on the day counts too).
  • Your Strava entry/s must be titled “#MicroRaceSeries Platteklip Qualifier“.
  • Championship: This is the #3 race of the 2019 MRS.
  • See the official MRS website for Rules & FAQ’s.
  • Race Participants: maximum of 35 (total).
  • Race Start Time: estimated 07:30am
  • Race Date: Saturday, 05 May 2019.
  • Route Info: Download GPX

Lucas R Adams (@lucasradams) is the Editor-in-Chief of the FKTseries project and shares personal “long-reads” on the philosophical aspects on running and life. Follow him on Strava. 

As always, thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this, we 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.

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