As a Vaalie, not continually abreast with local Cape Town news I was disturbed a few weeks ago to hear that all is not well with Chapman’s Peak, AGAIN. The local news made National news shortly before the holiday season and suddenly the prospect loomed of the Old Mutual Two Oceans returning to the Ou Kaapse Weg route.
Let me say from the outset that obviously the problems with the Chapmans Peak closure have absolutely nothing to do with the Two Oceans committee, sponsors, helpers etc. Capetonians will know which government department, road agency or engineering company is to blame. They will know whose knuckles need to be rapped. I don’t even want to jog down the blame road, yet alone charge down it.
What we runners need to know, ASAP, is over which route the 2009 Two Oceans is being run, traditional or Ou Kaapse?
The simple truth is that most of the runners I know want to run the traditional route. They want that chocolate box photo at the top of Chapman’s Peak. They want to gaze at the Sentinel, run through the crowds in Hout Bay and struggle up Constantia Nek.
Given the choice of what is now jokingly known as “The Same Ocean Twice Marathon” or the traditional route, almost every runner I know would like the traditional. For one thing, the Ou Kaapse route is harder, slower and less charismatic. Those borderline silver, Sainsbury and bronze medallists know that the Ou Kaapse route makes that elusive medal even more elusive. The climb goes on forever and then the descent on the other side is precipitous. Southern Cross Drive is a slog and its approaches are a bit tedious.
But there are other considerations apart from medals and times. These are tight economic times. Many of those travelling from up country and from overseas would rather wait and save their money for a traditional route run than travel down for the ou Kaapse route. For some the Two Oceans represents a trip of a lifetime. That trip has to be extra special. The cost of airfares, hotels and their subsequent cancellation can be punitive.
The running community will follow the progress of the Cycle Tour with unusual interest this year. If the bicycles don’t go over Chapman’s Peak then we runners are unlikely to as well. One of my Cape Town spies tells me that the 42 kilometre marker on the Ou Kaapse route appears to be freshly painted. Is this an ominous sign?
Personally, I will run the Two Oceans on whichever route it is run but I really hope that this April I am able to enjoy the view from of the top of Chapman’s Peak once more.
To comment on this topic or to read the race organiser’s response, join our forum debate.