The Hout Bay Trail Challenge was first run way back in 2002 with a mere 25 intrepid mountain goats - they are now called trail runners!

It was in the Hout Bay Yacht Club that Richard Sutton and Mark Preen started chatting over a beer, after a Tuesday Series paddle about doing something different and so the Hout Bay Trail Challenge was born. The idea was to run to each peak that surrounded Hout Bay - fortunately they gave that up and settled for circumnavigating the mountains of Hout Bay.

The idea was to run - no route markings only a map to keep you on track - no prize money just a great sense of achievement that you made it to the finish line! Today we have a few great prizes thanks to your sponsors and a finishing medal. The route remains true to its beginnings and is unmarked.

The race's start (and finish) is at the Hout Bay Yatch Club and within 1km you start to climb up Karbonkelberg for Leg 1. Leg 2 starts from Suikerbossie Restaurant (that is if you can get away from the hot fire, tea and scones) before tackling the back of Table Mountain to head towards Constantia Nek. Leg 3 is known as the easiest of the 3 legs, but Vlakkenberg does have a sting in its tale if you try to take it too quickly.

The other unique element of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge is if you are not up to taking on the whole challenge, you can rope in 2 mates and enter as a team, each person completing one leg.

Currently the top finishers of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge are aiming to crack the 4 hour mark. AJ Calitz who is the current record holder is only a few seconds off it with a time of 04:00:21. Stevie Kremer, all the way from States, holds the ladies' record of 04:34:55. Team Velocity Sports Lab Salomon (Ryan Scott, Ryan Sandes and Michael Bailey) have managed to crack the 4 hours barrier to set the team record at 03:39:19.

In 2016 we held the South African Ultra Trail Championships. The course was 70km with 4500m of climbing. Massive test for all those that took on the challenge. AJ Calitz who seems to be well suit and enjoys the Hout Bay Challenge as he holds the record on the 40km and now holds it on the Ultra as well. With a time of 07:46:50. Nicolette Griffioen first time to tackle the Hout Bay mountains. She had an incredible race to win the ladies in 09:11:01.

The race has always been environmentally conscious and we always encourage participants to take note of the beauty and the surroundings that we get to run in.

It is great to see how much the paths have improved over the years. A big thanks to Table Mountain National Park and to all the runners who have supported the TMNP over the years. We can remember the first race where the mountain goats had to get down on their knees to be able to follow the paths that had head height bush surrounding them. It was also recommended to wear long pants or gaiters to protect your legs from the fynbos.

We have to thank the Table Mountain National Parks for all their work that they do to keep our trails in good shape. We continue to support the Table Mountain National Parks and encourage all participants to make a small donation to the TMNP with their entry, so we can do our small bit to help maintain the trails that we use.