Ultra-trail run set to welcome top international athletes

With spectacular views and a challenging route on offer, the RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town (RMB UTCT) is considered South Africa’s premier trail running event and a favourite among international runners. Picture: Sam Clark

South Africa’s premier trail running event, RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town (RMB UTCT) takes place from tomorrow, Friday November 24 to Sunday, November 26.

It has again attracted top international ultra-trail runners who will join local elites and the wider trail running community for an exciting few days of racing on Table Mountain and across the peninsula over five different distances, a 23km, 35km and 55km, the UT100 (the 100km race), and UTCT (the 100 miler).

With a live broadcast on YouTube, the event showcases Cape Town to a worldwide audience.

Stuart McConnachie, race director of RMB UTCT, says the growth since the first RMB UTCT in 2014, has been phenomenal, though not entirely unexpected: “We knew that if we could get the necessary permits to hold this event across Table Mountain National Park, it would not only be a hit locally but that it could grow into one of the biggest and best-known ultra-trail events in the world, and we are seeing that happen.”

A number of factors have contributed to the event’s success and growth since 2014, not least of which are the valuable partnerships with a host of role-players, such as SANParks and the City of Cape Town, and sponsors. The newer 100 mile UTCT race covers 167 kms up Table Mountain and across the peninsula, to Simon’s Town and back via Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Constantia and through Newlands Forest, to the finish in Oranjezicht.

The newer 100 mile UTCT race covers 167kms up Table Mountain and across the Peninsula, to Simon’s Town and back via Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak, Constantia and through Newlands Forest, to the finish in Oranjezicht. Picture: Roy Potterill

Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, says: “We are delighted to welcome all the runners, along with the supporters and organisers of this year’s RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town, to the Mother City for what promises to be an unforgettable event. We are blessed with the unique feature of a spectacular national park that runs the full length of the city right up to our CBD, and there is no better way to show off this natural treasure than a globally recognised trail run with a live broadcast. I wish all the runners a great and safe RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town, and a wonderful stay here in the Mother City.”

Runners from over 66 countries have taken part over the years, with most international runners coming from France, Great Britain, United States, Germany and Italy. The 100km has evolved from only 16 finishers in 2014 within the punishing 15-hour cut-off, to up to 2300 runners taking part across the five events. The 100km now has a 24-hour cut-off making it more accessible to a wider group of runners.

Some of the big names of trail that Cape Town will host next month include Rob Krar and Anthony Costales from the United States, and Tom Evans from Great Britain.

A few of the many trail running greats among the women athletes are Ruth Croft from New Zealand, Leah Yingling from the US, and Yngvild Kaspersen from Norway, who placed first at the Ultra-trail Mont Blanc CCC.

Marianne Hogan from Canada also returns, after coming second in the UT100 in 2021. “I really enjoyed the course, and the area. In 2021, the top of Suther Peak was in the clouds, so I am coming back hoping for a clear view of the bright blue ocean. I plan to come out to Cape Town a little earlier in order to spend a bit of time on the local trails.”

Local legend Ryan Sandes returns to UT100 after a long absence from RMB UTCT. He last took part in 2018, where he had to pull out during the race, after placing second to Prodigal Khumalo in 2017. Picture: Sam Clarke

Among our local athletes taking part is Kerry-Ann Marshall. She placed second in the women’s 100 miler last year and will take on the 100km distance.

Local legend Ryan Sandes returns to UT100 after a long absence from RMB UTCT. He last took part in 2018, where he had to pull out during the race, after placing second to Prodigal Khumalo in 2017. Grobler Basson, who has a list of accolades in ultra-trail distances, will also be a strong contender in the 100 km.

There are many recommended spectator points, including Alphen Trail on Constantia’s Green Belt and at the University of Cape Town.

For details of the racing schedule and spectator points, visit www.ultratrailcapetown.com and follow UTCT on YouTube or Instagram stories to watch the race.