It’s that time of year again when thousands of runners descend upon the Mother City to take part in “The world’s most beautiful marathon”, the annual Two Oceans Marathon.
UPDATE: The 2020 Two Oceans Marathon has been cancelled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPDATE: Two Oceans Marathon NPC has decided to cancel #TOM2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Runner safety remains our primary concern and that cannot be guaranteed at this time. #KeepMoving #QhubekekaDeUfike https://t.co/xXTKrpjp89
— Two Oceans Marathon (@2OceansMarathon) March 15, 2020
On Easter weekend every year, more than 10,000 ‘lang-asems’ (local lingo for distance runners) will make their way around the Peninsula on the spectacular 56km route that takes in False Bay, Fish Hoek, Chapman’s Peak, and Constantia Neck. Another 15,000 eager runners will tackle the popular Half Marathon, that takes participants on a scenic meander through the Southern Suburbs. It’s a festive affair, even if you’re not a runner.
What’s happening and when
Two Oceans Marathon Expo
For the latest and greatest of all things running, head over to the Cape Town International Convention Centre and catch the latest gear, nutrition and even sports tours. It’s also the venue where participants register for race day.
When: The week leading up to the race.
Trail Run, Fun Runs & International Friendship Run
The ever popular Two Oceans Trail Run takes the more adventurous runners through the forests of the Southern suburbs. The various fun runs offer everyone from toddlers, tots and eager walkers a chance to get in on the action. Also taking place on Good Friday, is the International Friendship Run, which takes foreign athletes and their families for a 5.6km run/walk through the city past a number of the city’s famous landmarks.
When: Good Friday
Ultra Marathon & Half Marathon
When: Easter Saturday
More than 25,000 runners take to the streets of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs and the Peninsula, and to accommodate these eager athletes (and for everyone’s safety), there will be a number of road closures along and around the route. If you plan on driving on Friday or Saturday, have a look at the road closures on their website.
Where to watch
The Two Oceans isn’t only a beautiful race for runners, it also has some spectacular spots along the route where you can go cheer on the weary runners, and help lift their spirits to carry them to the finish line. For a detailed breakdown of places to view and cheer, go check out the Two Oceans website by following this link.
Tips for runners before the race
Carbo-loading: Unless you’re on the Banting bandwagon, you’re probably going to want to do a little carbo-loading ahead of the race. No one does carbs better than the Italians, and Cape Town has a number of fantastic restaurants where you can get your pasta fix.
Posticino in Sea Point, with its generous portions and reasonable prices, is a firm favourite. If you’re in Gardens, you’ll want to try Nonna Lina, which offers up thin-based wood-fired pizzas and pasta with a Sardinian twist. For a quick bite to eat, pop in to one of the many Col’Cacchio restaurants – the founding branch in the Foreshore is a good bet, and they even have a selection of Banting meals! You can’t go wrong with the pizzas at Burrata in Woodstock (they are baked in just 90 seconds in a super hot oven), and, as the recipient of the 2016 Eat Out Best Italian Eatery award, Il Leone Mastrantonio in Green Point is not likely to disappoint.
One final training run: If you want to loosen up your legs ahead of the big day, the promenade in Sea Point is a great option because it’s flat and scenic. International athletes can also take part (for free) in the International Friendship Run, which is a 5.6km run or walk through the City of Cape Town. Since the marathon doesn’t actually go through the city, this is a good opportunity to see some of the famous landmarks. Family and friends who are not running the race can also join in for a small fee.
Admittedly, the thought of beer at the end of the race might not work for everyone. If you’ve just slogged your way through 56km, you might want to hit the physio tent at the finish before heading back to your hotel to shower, sleep, and then inhale all the food. All of it.
But, if you had a great race and can still walk – or hobble – at the end, you might be up for a few celebratory beers. Foresters Arms Restaurant and Bar or Forries as it is affectionately known) is situated within walking distance of the finish, has the largest selection of draught beer in the Cape, and is always buzzing on Easter Saturday. If Forries is too crowded, the nearby Barristers Restaurant is a decent alternative. Think pub lunches, 24 draught beers on tap, and 50 wines by the glass! If you parked near the start and are heading back to your car, The Toad & Josephine, which is situated opposite Newlands Rugby Stadium, promises hearty burgers and a festive atmosphere