Urban running: Fun and challenging
Running is a great way to stay in shape, and if you live in an apartment in the city, there are some incredible urban running routes on your doorstep. Here’s a quick look at some of the best reasons to hit the tarmac – and some of the challenges to keep in mind before you head out the door.
What makes urban running such fun?
1. There’s lots to look at
Running is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city. And because you’re on two feet, rather than behind the wheel of your car, you’ve got plenty of time enjoy the architectural details of Cape Town’s historic buildings as you discover new neighbourhoods on your route.
2. You’ve got options
Because the city offers a network of small streets and alleyways, you can change up your route, even if you’re following the same loop. What’s especially exciting about running in Cape Town is that there are so many diverse running environments within a short radius – from city streets to green spaces and seaside walkways.
3. It’s rewarding
Unlike running in nature, running in the city offers plenty of places to stop and reward yourself along the way or at the end of your route.
4. There’s safety in numbers
The city is seldom quiet – even in the early morning – and there are almost always other people out and about, ensuring safety in numbers.
What’s more, there are some fantastic city runs worth training for, including the popular Cape Town 12 which starts in Milnerton and ends in the Cape Town CBD and the Totalsports Women’s Race which begins and ends at the Grand Parade.
What about the challenges?
Running in the city does present some challenges, but as long as you’re prepared for them, they needn’t throw you off course.
With so many people living and working in the city, urban running isn’t necessarily the head-clearing, calm-inducing experience you may be craving. Instead, expect to find yourself weaving in between people, cars, bikes, taxis and busses. Which brings us to the next challenge…
When you’re running in the city, it’s imperative that you keep an eye out for traffic at all times. It’s also a good idea to run without headphones so that you’re aware of the sounds around you and can keep an ear out for approaching vehicles.
Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding air pollution in the city, but you can limit exposure to harmful carbon monoxide fumes by running in the early morning or after the evening rush-hour when traffic is lighter.
City running routes
Cape Town has several scenic routes to choose from with three of the most popular including…
The Sea Point Promenade, or “the Prom” as locals refer to it, is a flat 11 km route from Granger Bay to Bantry Bay with incredible Atlantic Seaboard scenery to inspire you.
If trail running is your passion, this Cape Town landmark offers a great workout and 360° views of the city from the top. The best place to start this route is at the beginning of the Jeep track on Signal Hill Road.
This picturesque route offers two options: a 12 km run starting at the foot of Tafelberg Road or a 6 km one starting at the Cable Station. Both take you along the base of Table Mountain and around the bottom of Devil’s Peak and include some excellent hill training.
Running from Harbour Arch
Harbour Arch is perfectly positioned in Cape Town’s vibrant CBD and offers quick and easy access to urban running routes, the mountain and the sea. And if running on a treadmill is more your thing, this within walking (or running) distance of Virgin Active Foreshore.