Specialist tourism operators are emerging that focus on the sports traveller, and Lance Wynn, owner of Cape Town-based Runcation, has witnessed the growth of UTCT and other trail running activities in Cape Town.
The local trail running community has grown hugely in recent years, and with communication driven by social media channels, weekly runs are arranged by groups such as “Tuesday Trails”, and these groups are being noticed by runners planning their travels to Cape Town.
Ultra-trail Cape Town (UTCT), now in its fifth year has established itself as a bucket list race for ultra distance trail runners, not only locally but now internationally. The event has grown from one with 200 runners in 2014, to 1750 runners across all four of its races in 2018.
With its inclusion in the Ultra-trail World Tour since last year, the event is now attracting some of the top international elite runners and their supporters. Over 300 international entries are confirmed for December, and over 300 further entries are from other parts of South Africa - which is good news for tourism.
UTCT in tourism numbers:
· 54 Nationalities
· 351 International athletes
· 326 National athletes
· 674 Flights
· 500 Need Accommodation
· 270 Doing onward travel in WC
· 4000 Runners’ supporters
Runcation ensures that runners are able to see some of what the city has to offer while being confident of getting around and to their events on time: “It helps when athletes are focusing on such a big race to not worry about when to be where and how to get there. We are hosting the runners at the President Hotel for December’s race, which is where all the elite runners will be staying; so an added bonus is they will get to mingle with the ‘stars’ of international ultra-distance trail running.”
Bornman says these sorts of tours are incredible opportunities to showcase the trail paradise that Cape Town is: “These elite athletes will be spreading the word to the international trail community. With the growth of UTCT and initiatives such as tours for runners, we can anticipate the sport of trail running continuing to support the Cape Town tourism industry in the coming years.”