Make a long weekend of it and head down to Cape Town for the annual Two Oceans Marathon taking place on Saturday 20 April – and, it’s not just the 56km ultra marathon that is on the agenda! The Two Oceans event has a list of bumper runs for everyone to take part in.
The 56 km ultra marathon, trail runs, kid’s fun runs, the international friendship run and the official half marathon will have you eager to get your running gear on and meet and greet runners from all over the world.
But, before you head to the races, remember to stop at the Two Oceans Expo between 17-19 April at the Cape Town Convention Centre to collect everything you need for race day. Pick up your race numbers and drop off your finish line bag with your warm gear.
Be sure to book your car with Woodford to get the best deals for our Two Oceans Weekend.
The Main Event
The Official slogan of the Two Oceans Marathon is “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon.” No other race takes you past glittering ocean views and lush forest landscape. It’s well worth it to rent a car and drive the route before race day if you are not familiar with the road or the climbs.
The 56km ultra marathon takes place on Saturday 20 April. The route is a spectacular loop around Cape Town encompassing the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Runners start in Newlands, on Main Road at the corner of Dean Street, run down to Fish Hoek, through Chapman’s Peak and Constantia Nek to finish at the UCT campus.
The main race starts at 6.30am. Officials close the road from 3.30am to set up and ensure the smooth running of the event. Runners usually park at UCT and get a shuttle down to the start. Another option is to get a lift or try to park in the area to be close to the start.
Runners usually set off in the dark and must complete the race within 7 hours. To date, Thompson Magawana set the fastest time at 3 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds in 1988.
Rest assured, there are many refreshment tables along the route, crowds of spectators and running busses for runners to catch if they want to keep to a specific finish time.
Every runner will know their personal best – when to increase the pace, and when to take it slow. Stay motivated and motivate others on the route!
Parking is tight on race day. There are limited spots at UCT campus where the finishing line is and parking tickets for UCT campus will be available at the Expo. Otherwise there are parking bays along the roads in Newlands. And, remember, where there is a will, there is a way!
There are many sites you will see along the ultra 56km route that are sure to leave you wanting to come back for more.
Along the Indian Ocean, the route takes you from Main Road in Newlands past Cavendish Shopping Mall, past Constantia and Muizenberg.
There are a few vineyards in Constantia (including Groot Constantia) that offer fantastic lunches and Sunday strolls for a relaxed Sunday afternoon.
On race day, you’ll note the scenery change from dense city life to more open plains and coastal views all the way to the quaint town of Fish Hoek.
Fish Hoek offers up its many delights to local travellers wanting to explore eclectic shops along the promenade or dine in fabulous seafood restaurants facing charming ocean views.
Popular Fish Hoek destinations are the penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach, Kalk Bay and St James Beach where you can see the iconic multi-coloured beach huts.
The route then takes a cut inland, to the other side of Cape Town where you will meet the Atlantic Ocean along Chapman’s Peak Drive. The winding road offers spectacular, jaw dropping views. Tourists often park off at spots on the side of the road to take photos of where the Atlantic meets the land.
As you wind down Chapman’s you will enter Hout Bay where you are sure to come back for their famous fish and chips and local markets.
Then, you’re climbing up mountainous Constantia Nek through thick forest. At the top of Constantia Nek there is a nature reserve where locals go to hike or for a non-taxing trail run. Definitely come back and hike the giant steps to see the view from the top.
As you pass Constantia Nek, the route goes downhill for a relaxing respite through the forest, as you hit level land, you will see Kirstenbosch gardens. This is an ideal place for a Sunday picnic. There’s loads of room for the kids to run!
Kirstenbosch is famous for their summer Movies in the Park. If you’re in Cape Town from December to March then this is definitely something you will want to check out.
The final leg of the race is along Rhodes Drive and up to UCT, to the finish line. The campus sits way up on the mountain and is quite a strain on the legs but definitely worth it for the spectacular view at the top.
A large crowd of spectators always cheers the Ultra Marathon on. Feel the vibrant energy of Cape Town as you put the kilometres behind you.
Fun Events All Weekend Long
If 56km sounds like too much work then there are plenty of other exciting runs to take part in on Two Oceans Weekend.
Friday Trail Runs
A 12km or 24km trail run starting from Jammie Steps at UCT, cutting through Newlands Forest and going up the steep slopes of Devil’s Peak.
Each runner must carry water, food and a cellphone in a Ziploc bag with the local emergency number saved (021 937 0324) in case they run into any difficulty.
Kids’ Fun Runs
If you’re in Cape Town for the long weekend and want to do a Two Oceans event with the kids, then the UCT Rugby Field is the place to be on Friday19 April.
From 10am, families can take part in a 56m Nappy Dash for 1-3yr olds, a 250m Toddler Trot for 4-6yr olds, a 2.1 km fun run for 6 years and older, and a 5.6km fun run for 9 years and older. Enter online to book your place!
International Friendship Run
The International friendship run is open to international runners who have signed up for the half marathon or the ultra marathon.
The run is a sedate 5.6km around the V&A Waterfront that helps runners who have travelled far to loosen up their muscles for the next day’s main event.
Runners are encouraged to run with their national flag, which adds to the festive atmosphere of the event.
If you are at the V&A Waterfront on Friday 19 April around 9am then you will definitely want to cheer the runners on as they make their way through Cape Town’s most tourist friendly shopping destination.
The half marathon is 21km, starting at main road in Newlands, on the corner of Dean Street at 5.30AM. Runners go all the way to Constantia then loop back on the freeway to finish at UCT campus.
The introduction of the half marathon has encouraged many younger runners to enter the race. The route is extremely accessible and familiar to locals and UCT students.
We know you’ve been training hard for Two Oceans. Leave all your stress behind once you land in Cape Town. Rent your car at Woodford and enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer.
Have a fantastic Two Oceans Run!