UTCT 2018 – 35km

Nothing excites me more than an early morning race village. There is something about the anticipation in the air, the excitement of the supporters who have come along and the nerves of the athletes bouncing around before the start line. Time seems to both slow down and speed up until before you know it, you are beeping your watch, crossing the start line and embarking on your race.

I was extremely privileged to cross the start line with my older sister by my side. We had decided to enter the race together and in the month leading up to the big day, we had motivated and supported each other. All culminating in today. 1 December 2018. We were to run, walk, scramble or crawl our way for 35km, up 2100m of elevation, around the iconic Table Mountain. What a blessing.

The 35km route does not allow much for a warm up as the first 4km are pretty much the steepest of the day. Up Kloof Nek, along the contour and then up Platteklip on the face of Table Mountain. Here the joy and energy amongst the runners was contagious and remarkable. The morning had greeted us with a cold mist hovering above the table which was much welcomed as the sweat still poured down my temples. The climb is tough but the view is worth it and my legs felt strong and ready as we picked up the pace across the table. Every now and then the cloud would clear giving an incredible view of the city waking up beneath us. 

After refuelling at the aid station at the dams on top of Table Mountain, the sun was out in full force and the decent down Nursery Ravine began. A familiar run along the contour ended at the second aid station for the day – University of Cape Town. This aid station was amazing! The energy of the crowds and the volunteers was incredible. Luckily I soaked up as much as I could because the last 10km required it. Up you go once again, this time with no mist protecting us from the beating sun on Mowbray Ridge to the Blockhouse. 

I knew from here it was down and home and could hear and begin to start seeing the start with about 7km to go. Despite the pain, the jelly like feeling of my legs and the heat, I so loved this section. To the left you look back up Platteklip and how you conquered it that morning and to the right the city of Cape Town buzzes as if cheering for you. 

I crossed the finish line 7hours and 10 minutes after I crossed it as the start. 4l of water, 2 Energy Gus, 2 homemade date balls, 1l of rehydrate drink, 3 pieces of watermelon and some jelly sweets later, I was still smiling. 2019, I’ll see you there!

text by Mikhayla Bader

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