Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon
Start: Main Road, Newlands
Finish: University of Cape Town (UCT)
Enter online in November, through a lottery system or an official charity.
The race is traditionally held on Easter Saturday, with registration and race expo taking place from the preceding Wednesday in the Cape Town Convention Centre.
This is the most vibrant and popular 21km on the African race calendar, run through the scenic southern suburbs of Cape Town.
The first 5km is buzzing and congested, particularly in the latter seeding groups, until you reach the top of Edinburgh Drive and the M3 opens up. Resist the temptation to speed downhill on the M3 – rather conserve your energy for the second half. The next climb starts at Ladies Mile, and by the time you arrive at Parish Road, you will be forgiven for thinking this is the infamous Southern Cross Drive – the hill everyone warns you about. It’s a gentle but persistent 3km climb, with breath-taking autumn views, fabulous crowd support, and too many walkers who forgot to start their hill training in January. By now you will have forgotten about chasing that PB. Enjoy and smile for the camera as you join Rhodes Drive with a sigh of relief.
On tired legs, you will now encounter the unforgiving camber of Rhodes Drive as you weave your way towards Kirstenbosch Gardens. There is no solution for this, other than to run / walk off-road where possible. The best crowd support is reserved for the last 2km climb to the finish via a painful corrugated surface on Union Ave. There is magic in hearing the crowds scream ‘you can do it’. Grab some ice along the way and forget those cramps! If you’re heading for a medal, now is the time where you do whatever it takes – run, walk, hop – to get to the blue mat before final countdown by 09h30 (and not a second over).
There are some 16,000 runners who start off in four groups between 05h50 and 06h20. This race is run gun to mat and the medal cut-off (09h30) applies to everyone irrespective of start-time. Pre- cut-off is at 18km at Almond Road (past Kirstenbosch Gardens) by 09h10.
Limited pre-paid parking is available for the finish; get there before 05h00 to avoid congestion heading into UCT; and allow sufficient time to get to the start which is 2km away.
- Book your accommodation in the Rondebosch area and spend at least a week in Cape Town if visiting.
- Be prepared for rain and a cool climate. The first 30-60 minutes of the race is run in the dark.
- Ample hydration is available every 3km but don’t expect any food or snacks.
- Visit the Expo on day 1 – there are no queues and lots of freebies.
- Join the correct race pen or you might find yourself with the ultra-marathoners who start at 06h40
Reviewer: Christina Pather