The Beast Trail Run, 50km of tough Table Mountain trails!
Catering for seasoned, fit trail runners, The Beast will offer entrants 50km of spectacular scenery within the Table Mountain National Park. This is without a doubt the toughest 50Ks in South Africa!
Race Number Collection
Venue: Foresters Arms, Newlands
Date: 5 June 2019
Race number, T-shirt, timing chip collection.
Registration on race day will open at 06:45.
Finish is at Foresters Arms (Forries). CLICK HERE for map.
1. Charged Cell Phone (add 072 924 2371 Energy Events, Emergencies only)
2. Waterproof jacket, thermal base layer, buff or beanie
3. Food = energy bars, sandwich, fruit, nuts, chocolate
4. Hydration – Minimum 1 litre to start race!
5. Space Blanket, headlamp, whistle
6. Map (this is best saved onto your phone, as an image, and as a kmz file into Google Earth, Strava etc)
DO NOT bring: HEADPHONES, Dogs, Flu or litter.
50km – 3
30km – 2
At Dam wall – gear check!
50km Beast: 7:45am
30km Beast A batch: 8:15am
30km Beast B batch: 8:25am
12km Beast A batch: 8:35am
12km Beast B batch: 8:45am
30km / 50km
Cut off 1 @ Dam wall – 11h45
Cut off 2 @ Top of PlatterKlip – 12h45
Cut off 3 @ Kloofnek – 14h15
Cut off 4 @ King’s Blockhouse – 15h45
Cut off @ Finish line – 17h45
The minimum age for the The Beast Trail Run is 18 years.
Prices: (prices change at 11am on proposed date)
(15 Jan – 31 Mar)
50km – R595
30km – R395
(01 April – 05 June)
50km – R695
30km – R495
12km – R295
Beast 50km route
Beast 30km route
Beast 12km route
Start – Contour Path (0-9km, 9kms) – Eat a Beast, one bite at a time!
Kicking off at first light, from the Newlands Forest Picnic site, the route begins on an upward slope. Taking in the Pine plantations, this initial section should be done conservatively, allowing your diesel engine to warm up. Beast is not a picnic!
Undulating through the trees, on easy trails for 4km, to the Old Barracks Ruins (1700), the first decent hill climb on Jeep Track lets you know you have arrived. Beware of descending, yodelling mountain bikers! At the top of the hill, you swing right onto the Hidding Loop, superb single track that links to the Woodcutters trail -a technical gem loaded with slippery roots and rocks.
A rapid descent through the gums as you enter Groote Schuur Estate (hence all the oak trees), and your second quad burner up a steep gravel track, and then the diagonal trail to the style, at the start of the Contour Path, under the Blockhouse. You’ve done 9kms. Turn left!
Contour Path – Nursery Ravine (9 – 15km, 6kms) – Run, Forrest, Run!
The Contour path does some contouring, but not much, should rather be called the Rollercoaster.
If wet, the board walks are treacherous, take it easy. It is a well walked trail, crossing several rivers, the water is drinkable. You will be rewarded with superb sun rise views over False Bay, looking at the distant Boland Peaks, which extend southwards to Pringle Bay. However, concentrate on your foot fall, especially at the ‘Aloes’ a scree slope crossing with multiple ankle breakers – ‘skeef’ rocks.
Nursery Ravine to Maclear’s Beacon – the Belly of the Beast (15 – 21km, 6kms)
If you have drifted off the Contour Path for tea in Kirstenbosch, you can gaze upwards at the magnificence of this excellent climb. Like a ladder, straight up! It is a direct 500m ascent, under the dramatic cliffs of Castle Rocks and Nursery Buttress. Nursery Ravine trail is in excellent shape, with a small section of dodgy scree near the top. At the top, Turn Left past the Cairn, there is fresh water at the small bridge, and then immediately Right (this is NEW), to head directly to Hely Hutchinson Dam, through Nursery Valley. (Not to Overseers Cottage per previous routing.)
At the Dam Wall, (a Cut Off Point) drop down to the metal ladder, and pop up onto the wall, to enjoy a flat, scenic crossing – an ‘energiser’ – of the wall. You are in the middle of Table Mountain. Continue past the Museum, to the start of Echo Valley Trail, at 17kms.
Echo Valley is proof of the ‘non flatness’ of Table Mountain. It is a quiet, seldom walked, medium tech section. Stay on course, as wrong trails left or right will add hours to your day. A Right turn towards Maclear’s Beacon, sends you to the Summit, over 1000 metres in the sky!
Eat your stash of grub, and dress for Winter.
Maclear’s Beacon to Corridor Ravine – All who wander are not lost! (20 -28km, 8kms)
Some of this event’s greatest tales emanate from this leg. Reports of Yetis, snowstorms, walking off cliffs. Be prepared! The route follows the front face cliff top path, it is easy to become disorientated in cloud and wind. Run with someone else. The trail is flat, until you reach the top of Platteklip Gorge junction, 2nd Cut Off point. (If you are too slow, you will join the 30km route and descend Platteklip, continuing to the finish and a 35km outing).
From Platteklip, turn LEFT, and you are entering the top end of Echo valley, with zig zags and slippy boardwalks. Valley of Isolation, Valley of Red Gods make this a soul journey to help you along. You drop onto the Twelve Apostles trail and can look South towards Grootkop (which you do not reach), as you pass the halfway mark of 25kms, and soon turn RIGHT, down Corridor Ravine.
Big, chunky steps, concentrate!
Corridor Ravine to Kloof Nek – Your long training hours now makes sense, just believe! (28 – 34km, 6km)
If there is an easiest section of the Beast, this is it. A Cut off checkpoint awaits, so don’t dawdle along the Pipe Track. Good time to rehydrate, stock up on victuals, to prepare for some intense moments ahead.
Kloof Nek to Blockhouse – You are History, or part of it! (34 – 42km, 8km)
Once you have climbed up Kloof Corner, indeed cursing the warped humour of The Beast himself, you arrive at trailrunning heaven. The full contour path to the Blockhouse is a dream machine. All insane single track, with views overlooking the City, and beyond to Robben Island.
Wave at the Cable car as you pass below, keeping your eyes on the trail. You traverse Platteklip Gorge – natural water refill – and onwards to Saddle Path ascent. You are on Devils Peak, from where Van Hunks smoked his pipe and created the tablecloth …….. Past Oppelskop, enjoy the exposure of a high trail and soon pop out at the Mowbray Ridge descent, where you will WALK down slowly.
The Kings Blockhouse was built in 1795, so the British could take pot shots at any invaders. Like living inside Rubik’s Cube.
Blockhouse to Finish – Sting in the Tail (42 – 50km, 8km)
Hopefully the sun has not set, and you are using your own power to descend. First, a short loop ‘back’ along the lower contour path to reach Tafelberg Road, Turn Right. Short section of easy tar, and you are on the homeward straight. Gnarly downhill to Plumpudding, turn Right and staying above Rhodes Memorial on the jeep track, you will soon be on the 2nd of 3 horrible quad screaming hills. Follow markers to the final ‘Curve Ball’ and into the Picnic site for a Cold Beer, Hot Chocolate and Warm Hug.
You did it. ….. Who is the real Beast?
The Beast 30km
This 30km route description should be read at a faster pace than the 50km one, as you will be running at a greater cadence and speed than the long-haulers. However, you should still appreciate the historical anecdotes and Safety tips, gained mostly from a trip into the Scottish Highlands where I stumbled upon a wise sage in an illegal whisky distillery. Onwards!
Start – Contour Path (0-6km, 6kms) – Forests and Cavemen!
The forest is beautiful, filled with indigenous yellowwoods, but your mission on this section is to use your early morning hit of caffeine to focus and not have an Epic Fail on the lethal river crossings, gnarly, moss covered roots, or slippy-slide clay traps. That said, most runners will ignore this, charge off like a Neanderthal at a Mammoth hunt, and soon, come to mild grief. After thus paying homage to the mountain, having sacrificed your shins at boulder 56, you will be awake enough to continue.
NB! On the Woodcutters Trail, you split off to the LEFT (at about 6kms mark), Upwards, on the narrow Newlands trail, to reach the contour path, at the circular picnic bench thingy – the nocturnal meeting point of tree bark muti hunters. Turn LEFT, onto the Contour Path. You may bump into some 50km runners, offer encouragement, they have done 5 more kms and 2 gruesome hills. Your turn is coming.
Contour Path – Nursery Ravine (6 – 12kms, 6kms) – King of the Mountain
If you look at the elevation profile of the Contour Path from a satellite, orbiting somewhere near Mars, then the trail may look as if it follows a contour, but, no such luck, it’s a real Red Herring name (which for the uninitiated is not some May Day fish pate’)!
The Aloes – an infamous scree slope, boasting a superb Bakkies Botha klap of a climb, a building site obstacle course of ragged boulders, and an endless pitfall descent, that will have you guessing if you have somehow missed Kirstenbosch and landed up in Cavendish Square. Continue past Skeleton Gorge and on to Nursery Ravine – not a baby climb.
R1000 bux awaits the fool (male & female, you cannot win both categories) who reaches the Cairn at the top first (and who completes the full 30km race before cut off). Nursery Ravine is a marvellous section, you pop out above the trees, and enjoy electric views in between gasps of breath. The burnt section near the top is from a recent fire started by rock fall, which should help speed up your progress under the cliffs. No dithering! You just climbed 500 vertical metres, and are on top of the Back Table – which is also not flat.
Nursery Ravine – Maclears Beacon (12 – 17km, 5kms) – Meat & Potatoes
At the top of the climb, turn LEFT, there is fresh water in a stream, which you cross and then take a RIGHT turn up Nursery Valley, in the direction of the dams. (North West for the 2 folk that are using compasses). This is a recovery section, eat, harmonise and prepare for the next climb through Echo Valley to Maclears Beacon. After the Dam wall, the museum and a km of easy concrete road, turn RIGHT. This remote, wilderness leg of the race can be a lot of fun when the weather sets in. Ideally, run with someone else, who knows what they are doing. This can be difficult to determine as there are many different people pretending to be trailrunners – eg triathletes, mountain bikers, even road runners! Bizarre, I know. Try a simple: “Do you know what the hell you are doing?” And take it from there.
From Echo Valley and a few dodgy boardwalks, you turn RIGHT towards Maclears Beacon, onto the Eastern Table, away from all the hedonistic delights of the Cableway coffee shops and Curio stores.
The Beacon is a memorable pile of stones, to which you may add your own pebble, celebrating your frostbite and the summit!
Maclears Beacon – Platteklip Gorge (17- 21km, 4kms)
Move on, to a truly remarkable few kms, the cliff edge trail, of the front face. If cloudy and windy, don’t be alone and do concentrate. Although the trail is marked, the rocks often present ambiguous options. If you make it to the top of Platteklip, the site of much cursing and insults for the Organisers last year, by the near hypothermic bikini parade (ie dress warmly, with layers!!!), you are doing well.
Down, down you go. Huge steps, failing sense of humor, but the increase in oxygen levels will warm your soul. Chat to ascending tourists, leaving positive PR for our city that depends on their dollars.
Platteklip Base to Finish (21- 30km, 9km)
After the big zig zags, the trail reaches the Contour Path, and this time it is a fairly good contour, until shortly it isn’t. Sprinting, and determined not to be cut off, 50km runners may attack you from the left, you turn RIGHT and enjoy some flat running, sort of.
Ascend again at Saddle Path, and you are on Devils Peak, on your way to Oppelskop and Mowbray Ridge. Sublime trail running. If you get to Woodstock Cave, there will be a free offer of some heavenly herbs from Cave enthusiasts B.Marley and co, but, you are off route. Take the Blockhouse descent easy, no running until you have made it off the cliff safely.
From the Blockhouse, descend to Plumpudding Hill, and it’s just a few kms to the Finish and the Start of your Celebrations. Medics are available.
More information: beasttrailrun.co.za/
Foresters Arms, Cape Town