Hit­ting the road given new mean­ing in Land­marks race

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - STEPHEN GRANGER

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.

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