Cape Town 12km peace trail – Ziyaad Solomon
Cape Town Marathon 12km Peace Trail was my first official trail in 2016. I remember the nerves
and excitement for the unknown that was ahead. For some reason this year, I had the same
feelings on the start line despite having done the race before.
It’s always good doing the same route or races and seeing how much or how little you’ve
improved. Since I was training for my triathlon I hadn’t focused on trail running specifically but I
hoped my general training would be enough for a good strong run!
Two years is a long time so I was sure I would do much better than my first attempt. The
outcome of the race was still an unknown because anything can happen on race day! I think it’s
the unknown that draws me back to racing each time.
I would divide this race into four parts. It seems a lot for such a short course but bear with me.
Part 1 – Out the gates!
After a brief warm up with Nikki, which consisted of some running and light footwork movements
using the pavement, we made our way to the starting area. The key to having a good race here
is a fast start and getting a good position on the single track sections where it’s difficult to pass
other runners. So, we went to stand right at the front of the start! The race started fast and it
was full speed ahead trying to stick with the front group of runners. After 500m these runners
had already left us behind. I stuck to running at about 4:30min/km… 1km into the race and part 1
Part 2 – Stairway to heaven
This is when we meet Clyde… let the climb begin! A narrow road up towards the trail followed by
some stairs. I kept a decent pace but towards the top I took a short walk break to catch my
breath and prepare for a punchy flat section before entering the trails.
I seemed to be in a good position with Nikki only a few runners ahead. It seemed like I wouldn’t
get caught in too much traffic on the single track. As soon as the trails started I slowly saw Nikki
running further and further away from me as I paced myself on the climbs. With a run walk
strategy that had no structure besides listening to my body and reading the route ahead of me. I
ran with a cool group of guys; we kept passing each other and catching up again when the
others decided to walk. Eventually I came out at the Kramat where Ragmah handed me a water
bottle. I knew I wouldn’t need much on this run besides my High5 Energy Gel with caffeine and
some water which was mostly to cool myself off. It was starting to get hotter so this was
perfectly timed. The trail from the Kramat to Signal Hill is one of my favorite trails. It’s fast and
not too technical with a cheeky little climb before the end. At the aid station I grabbed a small
cup of water and threw it over my head; thus ending part 2.
Part 3 – What goes up must go down
After all that climbing I was quite happy for a short downhill section on the road from the top of
Signal Hill to a little turn off close to the Kramat which takes you onto the trail again. I managed
to pick up a decent pace descending towards the Noon Gun which has a really steep slippery
section just before the entrance. Once again we climbed a bit before some steeper descents
which took us to a flat section along the tree line. This section of the route takes you all the way
back to the start of the race. This is where I found myself in a bit of a traffic jam behind one
person. I couldn’t pass which was kind of frustrating but later I was thankful because it kept me
at a good pace until I eventually made a move and got pass. I was now back to running on road
and down Clyde road where some runners can be found walking. I decided I made it this far so I
better keep pace! I passed a few more runners and I’m sure I wasn’t very graceful running down
Part 4 – Just hold on!
Finally, things come full circle! How we started is how we would finish! The last kilometer of the
race is exactly the same as the first: flat and fast! About 500m from the end I felt like I had
nothing left in the tank! Some random guy passed me and I thought to myself: “No ways bro!” I
kept right behind him for a few meters and with about 200m to go I found another gear on the
blue carpet! I passed him and two others. I wasn’t really racing them but sometimes having
people ahead of you gives you that extra motivation to finish harder and stronger!
That’s how this four part saga came to an end! Shoes off, medal around my neck, an ice cold
coke and the biggest smile on my face!
I decided to do a short cool down run barefoot and on the grass around the finishing area.
Earlier in the week I was reading about how running 1-2km after a hard race can help improve
recovery. Running bare feet on grass also has its benefits! The best part of this race was finishing and finding my sister had flown down from Jozi to surprise us all! Checkout the route on Strava below and the official race results!