The 100km Ultra-trail is a front-loaded route with two major climbs on Table Mountain and the remote trails of Karbonkelberg within the first 50km. The second half, while equal in elevation gain, consists of more sustained gradients.
The race starts in the early morning (4am) with an ascent out of the city to Signal Hill and around Lions Head, which captures the sights of the Atlantic Seaboard at first light. With the sun rising runners climb midway up Table Mountain's north face and run a contour to Platteklip Gorge, the longest vertical ascent of the race, a notorious route with gradients exceeding 35 degrees, up Table Mountain. The climb is a long grind and loads the legs very early on in the race - after 25km an elevation of 1700m will have been covered.
Upon reaching the top, you will run the famous tabletop ridge with Cape Town at your feet. Traversing Table Mountain for 10km where you eventually arrive at Constantia Nek after an 800m descent. From here the route flattens through Orangekloof to Llandudno Aid station (44.5km) and along the remote scenic coastal stretches to Oude Schip. The second of the two steep climbs is the 600m Suther Peak and a traverse of Karbonkelberg to Hout Bay Aid station (60km). This part of the race either makes or breaks it for the runners, with temperatures on the rise and a scramble up this remote stretch being particularly exhausting.
The second half from Hout Bay takes runners across the beach towards East Fort and the Manganese Mines and over the mountain above Hout Bay. Runners descend via Vlakenberg to Constantia Nek. From here runners head towards Constantia, where runners reach vineyards and city greenbelts through to Alphen Trail Aid Station (76km). From here they climb through the technical sections of Cecilia and Newlands forests followed by a steep drop down into the University of Cape Town's upper campus and the last Aid station (89km). The final 10km, often into a strong headwind (the infamous 'Cape Doctor'), requires digging deep with an intense climb to get up to the Blockhouse and lower traverse of Devils Peak. Reaching it marks the home stretch, with the reward of incredible views of the City, the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain and Lions Head.
Running above the City Bowl gives runners a moment to reflect, by retracing their footsteps along these famous landmarks covered in the morning.