Otter Trail Run
It’s billed as the ‘Grail of Trail’, and for good reason, with the Otter Trail run between Storms River and Nature’s Valley covering some of the most incredibly beautiful terrain on offer. Usually completed as a hike across five days, the run is tough, technical, and includes four river crossings, including a tricky navigation of the Bloukrans River, which depending on what time you end up crossing could be more of a swim, than a run. But while gruelling, it is also gorgeous, with jaw-dropping views, pristine white beaches and a coastline that seems to run forever. The Otter acts as the finale for the Golden Trail Series – a global trail running series contested throughout the year - and draws some of the world’s best runners. This event sells out quickly due to its popularity, so you need to keep an eye on the website to try and ensure you are on the starting line.
Ultra-Trail Cape Town
The iconic Table Mountain Nature Reserve forms a large part of the Ultra-Trail Cape Town route and if that’s not enough of a drawcard, we don’t know what is! The event has just celebrated its fourth anniversary, meaning it’s still new on the map, but it has quickly cemented itself on the global trail running calendar, forming part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour. Covering some of Cape Town’s most recognisable landmarks, including the Constantia Winelands and the upper slopes of the Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve, the UTCT is incredibly popular and a bucket-list event for runners. There is also a 65km, 35km and 21km route for those less inclined to take on the mammoth 100km, but all are challenging with plenty of climbing and technical challenges thrown at you throughout.
Two Oceans Trail Run
The Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is one of the most iconic races on the planet, and while the Two Oceans Trail Run may not stack up to its bigger brother on an international scale – yet – it’s certainly made its mark on the local community. Offering two routes – a 24km and a 12km – starting at UCT, the run winds its way through Newlands Forest to the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak and beyond. It’s a spectacular visual feast, but you can also expect big climbs and plenty of technical descents. You have to be 18 or older to take part in this event.
Torpedo Wild Run
The Torpedo SwimRun Wild, one of the newest additions to the local race calendar, is yet another race you need to add to your diary for 2019. The inaugural race recently wrapped in the Wilderness on the Garden Route and it is a step up – both in terms of toughness and natural beauty – on its predecessor in Cape Town, which is heading into its third edition this November. A combination of running and swimming, the Torpedo series is one of the more unique races you could take on (run in your wetsuit, swim with your trainers on) and it is quickly growing in popularity. One of the reasons for this is that it’s a great leveller – strong swimmers need to brave the running sections, strong runners need to overcome the open water swims – and throws down a gauntlet to which discipline is the toughest. The field is often a mix of tri-athletes, open-water swimmers, trail runners and life savers, with the latter dominating Torpedo Wild in 2018. Definitely one to tick off your list.
There are few areas as lush, and evergreen, as the Cape Overberg. Nestled between the Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route, there is a gentleness about the Cape Overberg, an idyllic country feel that allows you to take a deep breath, release the tension in your shoulders and find peace in the tranquillity of it all.
And what better way to take in this region than on foot?
The AfricanX multi-stage trail run provides you with the opportunity to do exactly that. One of the longest running events on the local race calendar, it is synonymous with magnificent trails, spectacular views, mouth-watering food, a relaxed atmosphere, great vibe and most importantly, TEAMWORK, this three-day stage race explores some of the most beautiful terrain that the Western Cape has to offer.
Nestled in the heart of the Houw Hoek valley, with its Festival Village located on the grounds of the majestic Houw Hoek Hotel, the AfricanX is an opportunity for weekend warriors to not only challenge themselves physically, but also allows for time to soak it all in.
Summer and Winter Trail Series
Whether you’re a novice trail runner just getting into the sport or a pro challenging for the podium, the Trail Series is an awesome option for you and one of the most well-established trail running series in the country. With runs in some of the most beautiful and diverse parts of the Western Cape, you can choose to run one or all of the events. They are incredible well organised and a heck of a lot of fun. The summer series runs from January into February, while the winter series kicks off in July and runs into August. Incredibly popular amongst the local trail-running community, each series consists of four long and short races, and you can complete the full series by finishing either three Challenge courses (short route) or three Championship courses (long route), earning yourself a medal in the process. The Trail Series is a great family-themed series with kids 10 years or younger able to enter for free.