Cape Town experiences a major transformation over the TOM weekend. Runners bustle all over town, while out-of-towners and tourists fill the local restaurants and popular running routes.
As one of Cape Town’s premier annual events, it’s not difficult to see why people continuously flock to the Mother City over the Easter weekend each year. The incredible sights and sounds of the city are what give the Two Oceans Marathon its reputation for the world’s most beautiful marathon, and it’s a reputation that has stuck.
From professional athlete to first-time participant and Ultra or Half Marathon novice – crowd support is always appreciated and for many, the unconditional cheering is what gets them through the race.
The great news is that TOM offers some of the best and most beautiful spectator spots to choose from.
Find out where best to catch all the action of the world’s most beautiful marathon:
The Start – Main Road Rondebosch
Although not the most scenic part of the route, the atmosphere at the start is an experience. The nerves are palpable, an early morning chill in the air and the anxious murmur of thousands of runners audible over the sound of footsteps and heavy breathing as the runners amble along the dimly lit warm up stretch.
The Half Marathon splits off towards Edinburgh Drive, and Protea and Paradise Roads are usually lined with local residents enjoying their morning coffee while shouting words of encouragement.
Main Road – Rondebosch to Fish Hoek
After crossing the start line, Ultra Marathon runners stay on Main Road all the way to Fish Hoek, so simply choose your nearest location and support the Ultra Marathon runners as they tackle the first 20km of their race along this flat section of the route.
However, the popular stretch between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, a bustling spectator spot, is where Ultra runners get their first glimpse of the ocean. Easing into a comfortable rhythm, this long (mostly flat) section allows for a little appreciation of the spectacular views before the real hard work begins. The many coffee shops and restaurants lining this stretch offer sustenance and chill once the runners have passed.
Fish Hoek – Kommetjie Road
If you get too hot in the sun, the beach and sea will act as a welcome respite while not missing out on any of the festivities of the race.
Main Road – Noordhoek
The gently undulating 4km section along Noordhoek Main Road offers friends and family the opportunity to cheer Ultra athletes on before they tackle the first big climb of the day. Chapman’s Peak is waiting and while the pace is fast, most runners will be conserving their strength for the second half of the race.
Starting at Noordhoek Village and winding its way along the mountain’s edge to Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak is surely the most well-liked landmark along the route, the start of which marks the 28km mark for Ultra Marathon runners. The most breath-taking views await the runners on the seemingly endless and beautiful climb, which rewards them with unparalleled vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Hout Bay up ahead. A fabulous point to give runners a little extra push before they embark on the climb ahead.
Note that this stretch of the route is not accessible by car, so you may want to pack a picnic and take an early hike up the famous Chappies.
Hout Bay & The Marathon Mark, to the top of Constantia Nek
Hout Bay Main Road becomes a non-stop party zone as residents line the street from the bottom of Chappies, all along the quaint fisherman’s village to the top of Constantia Nek. This is where runners will also hit the marathon mark, a milestone – and sometimes, barrier – for many runners, both physically and emotionally.
With spacious fields and dirt tracks alongside the route at this point, this is a fabulous place for spectators to fully immerse themselves in the spirit of the race. Runners need a lot of support here and your encouragement is invaluable on the second and most taxing climb ahead!
The steep incline of the Constantia Nek climb can make or break even the most seasoned athlete. Give the athletes as much support as you can at this point…They’re going to need it!
Constantia Nek – Ladies Mile/Parish Road
While Ultra Marathon runners are chipping away at their gruelling task, Half Marathon runners will be preparing themselves for their second climb of the day: Up the long, steep Southern Cross Drive.
But before they do, make your way to the Ladies Mile / Parish Road intersection and offer them some support and the final boost they need to conquer Southern Cross.
Southern Cross Drive
Southern Cross Drive is the one section of the Half Marathon route that is dreaded by the majority of first-time participants. It’s steep, seems never-ending and it’s probably the first place where runners will gear down to walking pace. But the crowd support cannot be beat.
The Southern Cross Drive section of the Half Marathon boasts cheering crowds, bands and general merriment, and you can add your voice to the sea of support.
Cecelia Forest – along Rhodes Drive
A large shoulder flanks the road on one side, creating a spectacular cool and shady viewing point for spectators, (especially on the inclines). Road closures prohibit travelling to and from the forest, however, if you live in the area and are up for a little bit of a walk, take a stroll and admire the sights. The Half Marathon runners will be gearing up for a strong finish, while the Ultra Marathon runners will need that extra boost to catapult them to the finish. Help them get there.
By the time the runners reach Newlands Forest, they can just about taste the sweet victory of the finish line. But there’s still Chet’s Hill – usually a fairly insignificant climb that becomes a major pre-finish hurdle on Race Day. Cheer them on before they reach their final challenge on the way to the finish! The leafy road going past the Kirstenbosch Gardens entrance offers plenty of shade, and this section of the route is a crowd favourite.
UCT – Rondebosch: The Finish Line
The festivities at the finish line are not to be missed! From dramatic sprints as runners race towards a personal best to the high-drama of the final cut-off gun… The finish line is the place to be to cheer on your loved ones and fully experience the emotional rollercoaster of the event. Running Club members can cheer on their mates at the finish, and then catch a shuttle to transport them to the Club Gazebo area.
Important parking and road closure reminder
- Familiarise yourself with the road closures and ensure that you know where to park and/or how to walk to your chosen spectator spot. Steer clear of high congestion zones, especially if you want to leave without hassle.
- There is very limited parking around the Start precinct, and you will not be able to drive onto the campus on Race Day without the necessary parking accreditation.
- No parking is allowed on the M3 and doing so will result in you being ticketed or even being towed away. Don’t take that risk.
- No littering! We have a zero tolerance approach to littering. That includes littering by athletes and spectators. Please use one of the many bins provided along the route.
- While you are welcome to pack a picnic and make a day of it, please note that you are not allowed to bring a braai, skottel or gas stove.