The race founded by Alex Jones started in 1964, and still follows the original route from Green Point to the naval sports’ fields in Simon’s Town. While this year marks exactly 50 years since the race was first held, it did not take place from 1994-1997, due to the introduction of the Cape Town Marathon.
What is the first thing do you do when you know you’re going to travel and you’ve booked your flights and accommodation? Look for what runs are on in each destination, of course. I was spoilt for choices on this last trip:
- Cape Peninsula Marathon – Cape Town, 15/02/2015
- Brighton Half Marathon – 22/02/2015
- Bath Half Marathon – 01/03/2015
Cape Peninsula Marathon ended up being my choice but it wasn’t an automatic choice. The others are great halves to run and I probably would have had Gayle (my wife) doing at least the Bath Half as well if I had chosen that. Brighton was on the same day as my brother-in-laws birthday and the reason for our UK trip and Bath is about 4 hours away from where we were staying and would have meant overnight accommodation at least. Pity because Bath is a beautiful town.
Anyway, Cape Peninsula it was which was first run in the year I was born. The major bonus was that this year it was only a week into what was going to be a ‘good’ holiday. My first ever marathon on 20/02/1993 after a ‘we need to do a marathon before we turn 30’ discussion with a good friend in a little pub in Cape Town called ‘The Crow Bar’. That was 6 weeks out. I need to share my 6 week marathon programme with you sometime. It basically entails plenty of bravado and one 20km training run.
Back in 1993 Tony (we had the same names) and I lined up and raced our hearts out in a time of about 4 hours and 35 minutes, missing the cut-off by 5 minutes. We should have been eyeing the Garmin you say… Me thinks it was before their time….and we had this in the bag. We were starting and finishing this thing together and we did. We were a tad tired, sored and bloody. Who knew you could chafe THERE!
Bonus, Gayle and Tony’s missus parked the car way up the hill. If you’ve ever been to Simonstown in South Africa then you’ll know it’s built on the slopes of Cape Peninsula (doh). That was awesome hobbling back to the car. The beers immediately after the run did help and not hinder. Painkillers.
This year was going to be different. I was going to make the cutoff. 6 hour cutoff this time so fairly safe bet. I lined up with my niece (Dyanne) who lives in Cape Town. This was her third ever marathon after having done London and Dublin previously but her first South African marathon. She has joined us for a couple of morning sessions on her Oz visits. I wasn’t sure how strong I felt so ran by feel for the first 12kms before glancing at the Garmin and getting into some fun like high fives, spraying water table assistants with water, enjoying the people, enjoying the views, soaking up the memories, etc. Yup, those are all excuses. Dyanne beat me by 49 seconds after having an approximate 10 minute lead half way through. So close!
Anyway, it was fun. Couple of beers after in the WP Road Runners tent and a shorter, flatter walk to the car which was driven by Dyanne’s dad who seems to be much more considerate that Gayle in that way. Also had the opportunity of catching up with a friend who was running his first Half Marathon after having had a multiple bypass operation some 11 weeks before. Good times.
Not necessarily a bucket list run but it sure is scenic and the streets are lined with friendly people. The scenery is pretty good as you have Table Mountain on your right for the first 15 or so kms and then the hills of Silvermine and then ocean side, and I mean ocean side, running for the last 15-20kms. Chances are you will run into a South Easterly headwind on the day as that’s the prevailing wind in that area and know as the Cape Doctor as it clears the air of plenty of muck. Wind speed can be anything from a delicate 10 km/h to a solid 35 km/h on the right day.
Then there was England. No racing but some good runs with my first run in the snow and snowfall at that as well. Spoilt or what.