Hitting the road given new meaning in Landmarks race
TRAIL RUNNING is the fastest growing sport in the country, but tomorrow, runners will be following a trail with a difference at the 12th running of the Landmarks Half Marathon.
Rather than the off-road, mountain terrain normally associated with trail running, over 3 000 runners are expected to follow a trail along paved surfaces and celebrating some of the best known cultural and historic landmarks in the Rondebosch-Newlands area. The race has become one of the major running events in Cape Town.
Race director, Chet Sainsbury, supported by the City of Cape Town, has compiled a striking commemorative brochure for the race, providing photographs and historical “bios” on the well-known landmarks, as well as information about 23 restaurants and coffee shops en route.
While some will be racing to win, and to pocket the R5 000 incentive for breaking the men’s or women’s records (which are held by Lindikhaya Mthangayi, 1 hr 06 min 11 sec, and Zintle Xiniwe, 1 hr 17 min 49 sec), others will be simply be out to savour the heritage of the city.
Starting out from the pavilion at the WP Cricket Club Sports Centre in Ave de Mist, runners will initially enjoy easy running on flat terrain, as they pass Diocesan College, Rondebosch Common, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Rosebank Methodist Church and the Irma Stern Museum in Cecil Road.
Working harder as they approach the more challenging slopes of Devil’s Peak, runners will pass the 18th century working mill, Mostert’s Mill and the University of Cape Town before encountering the toughest climb of the day to Rhodes Memorial, a Sir Herbert Baker-designed monument.
The gradient then turns in the runners’ favour, as the head down through Newlands Forest, passing the Montebello Design Centre, the famous 1880 pub the Foresters Arms, the Von Lier Tomb and the Vineyard Hotel and Spa.
Further landmarks are gained in the final kilometres in the form of SACS – the oldest school in the country – the Liesbeek River Trial, Josephine Mill, WP Rugby and Cricket stadia, the Ohlsson’s Brewery, the Athenaeum and Rondebosch Boys High School before the finish back at the WP Cricket Club pavilion.
The racing promises to be fierce upfront, with the men’s record likely to come under fire from the likes of Transkeian Lungile Gqonka, existing holder Mthnagayi and local Nedbank runner, Sityhiso Diko all capable of improving on the mark.
Although Xiniwe is likely to be in the field tomorrow, she has not regained her form of last year, when she set the record, and Zimbabwean Fortunate Chidvizo could be the one to fill her shoes tomorrow.
A recent import to the City, Chidvizo placed second at the Gun Run Half Marathon, six seconds faster than the Landmarks’ record time, and took line honours at last week’s 8km Don LockRace.
The race gets under way from the WP Cricket Club at 6am, while a 6km fun run takes places from the same venue at 6.45am.