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 moves toward Constantia, a 'flat' run through the valley where runners reach vineyards and city greenbelts making up the next 10km. Runners then depart the city slopes back for Table Mountain at Alphen Trail Aid station (76km) where 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 your 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.
Cut off Times
The UTCT 100km has a permit for 17 hours and is for experienced, fit runners who can manage stringent time-barriers.
A route diversion will be in place at 37km Constantia Nek to the 65km race course for runners that have fallen off the pace.
The organisation will have in place a non-negotiable diversion to the 65km race course from 10:10am at Constantia Nek.
Historically runners arriving at Constantia Nek between 09:45am to 10:10am are at risk from being cut-off further along the route.
UTCT does NOT require qualification for the 100km race.
Due to the challenging 17 hour cut off there is no formula that can guarantee finishing the race and it's therefore entirely the responsibility of the runner to establish if they are capable to complete it.
We can provide a guideline: typically runners finishing in the top 30% (open category) of trail races with similar distance, elevation gain and technicality are good candidates to finish the race. If you are unsure or need advice please contact Stuart via email