Clearing The Trails For The 2023 RMB UTCT
SANParks, race organisers and volunteer groups are working flat out to ensure the trails for the upcoming RMB UTCT are in good condition when the event takes place at the end of November. The maintenance teams have already cleared 39 kilometres of trails between Table Mountain and Cape Point.
“UTCT is a trail-running event that attracts athletes from all over the world,” says race organiser Stuart McConnachie. “We ensure that our trails are well marked and clear of any foliage, so that participants don’t have to worry about negotiating encroaching vegetation or getting lost. The work done by the team allows runners to have the best possible trail experience, while not changing the rugged nature of the Cape’s terrain.”
The work done by the team allows runners to have the best possible trail experience, while not changing the rugged nature of the Cape’s terrain.
Ongoing trail maintenance work is a collaborative effort involving the race organisers, the Friends of Table Mountain, the SANParks Honorary Rangers, and much-needed funding from RMB.
Andy Davies, head of Friends of Table Mountain, is enthusiastic about the progress that is being made.
“It’s such a pleasure seeing the amazing difference we’re making on all these trails,” he says. “In the past 18 months, together with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, we have cleared 39 kilometres of trails in the Table Mountain National Park.”
Most of the work is carried out by a small team of Friends of Table Mountain trail workers, who are supervised by Toby Adams of the Honorary Rangers.
The nature of their work involves addressing issues that could impact the integrity of the trails. Adams elaborates: “Typically, what we see is fynbos growing across the paths. The runners or walkers make their way around the fynbos, effectively deviating the course of the path. This leads to erosion, which ultimately destroys the path altogether. First prize is to trim back the fynbos where it covers the path. If the damage has already been done, we shore up the path using rocks or logs.”
Additionally, Adams and his team construct steps on steeper sections of the slopes, and establish proper water run-offs to prevent erosion and maintain the paths’ integrity. Their dedication ensures that runners, hikers and walkers can continue to enjoy these trails.
RMB Head of Brand and Sponsorships Lucy Lightfoot expressed her gratitude, saying: “It’s critical that organisations like the Friends of Table Mountain and the Honorary Rangers get the funding they require, and support for the ongoing work that they do to maintain these trails. They work tirelessly throughout the year to make sure that outdoor enthusiasts can use these trails, and that they are maintained in pristine condition.”
Registration for the 2023 RMB UTCT can be made via www.ultratrailcapetown.com. Closing date is midnight, 1 November 2023.