South Africa’s premier ultra-trail running event, Ultra-Trail Cape Town (UTCT), is back with its eighth edition Saturday, November 27.
The UTCT 100km race, run over Table Mountain and parts of the Peninsula, has grown in stature internationally and now attracts the world’s top ultra-trail runners, as well as the best of the country’s local talent.
According to Race Director, Stuart McConnachie, they are overjoyed at the number of international athletes who are making the trip to SA this year and look forward to seeing them challenge South Africa’s very strong local runners, who are also eager to share the trails with the world’s best.
However, a significant change this year will be the cut-off time after SANParks has granted runners 24 hours to complete the 100kms, rather than the previous 17 hour time limit.
“We are grateful for the extra time for runners to be out on the mountain and for our partnership with SANParks that makes this event possible.
The 24-hour cut-off has made UTCT accessible to a wider group of runners at the back of the field,” McConnachie said.
Park Manager at Table Mountain National Park, Frans Van Rooyen added that SANParks is excited to partner with UTCT for this event as it will strengthen their relationship.
” SANParks is confident of the race’s success and wishes everyone a wonderful time, and urges everyone to stay safe,” Van Rooyen indicated.
Well, are you ready!?#utct #TimeToPlay https://t.co/X8P4jPRJW6
— Ultra-Trail Cape Town (@UltratrailCT) November 24, 2021
The organisers will be hosting some ultra-distance legends to light the flares at 4 am at the race start, amongst them Bruce Fordyce. Fordyce is best known for winning Comrades nine times and for holding the 50-mile world record for 36 years. In 2019 this record was broken by Jim Walmsley from the United States, who arrived in Cape Town last week and who will be the favourite to win UTCT.
Walmsley is one of a handful of the world’s top ultra runners, excelling on both road and trail, and he has long looked forward to running in South Africa.
“I am so excited to finally find a time to make it out to race in a country with such a rich running history, especially in the ultra-marathon world. I’m looking forward to getting after the hard trails,” Walmsley indicated.
Courtney Dauwalter (USA) needs no introduction in trail running circles, and having smashed the UTMB women’s race this year, coming in 7th overall, she will be the one to beat amongst the women. After enjoying her energetic presence as a supporter in 2019, UTCT is excited to have her return this year to run.
“I came home after my last trip and couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful Cape Town is, how awesome the community at UTCT is, and how much fun I had,” Dauwalter said.
Picture: Twitter/ @sportograf