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The Race

The Hout Bay Trail Challenge is known as one of the toughest trail runs in the Western Cape. It is also an amazing adventure of navigating your way around the mountains the surround the "small" village of Hout Bay, which has breath taking views of the Cape Peninsula.

The race is sought after with entries being snapped up in seconds.

The Challenge course is +-40km long with over 2500m of climbing. It is divided into 3 legs and you are able to enter as an individual or as a team of 3 with each runner doing one of the legs. The route is marked and runners are given a full route description and route map. With most of the course being on single path the race is limited to 250 runners on the mountain at one time.

The current men's record is held by Kane Reiley (03:54:35 - 2018) and is the first and only runner to go under 4 hours. The current ladies record holder is Stevie Kremer (04:34:55 - 2013) all the way the USA.

2016 we held South African Ultra Trail Championships over a gruelling 70km course with over 4000m of climbing. The current ladies record is held on this course by Nicolette Griffioen (09:11:01 - 2016) and the men's record is held by AJ Calitz (07:45:50). The Ultra course will be held again in 2019 on a slightly shorter course (60km).

Race History

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 has had one or two small changes over the years. For many years the route remains true to its beginnings and was unmarked. From 2016 the route has been marked.

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.

In 2019 the Hout Bay Trail Challenge had the previlage of hosting the South Africa Trail Championships. An incredible run by all and very competitive field. Congratulation to Kane Reiley and Nicolette Griffioen on their wins.

In 2017 Kane Reiley was the first person to break the 4 hour barrier. An incredible achievement. In 2018 he managed to break the record and set a new time of 03:54:35. 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 a number of wins on the 40km route and now holds the record 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 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.


Bright Start Charity

Since 2008, Bright Start has been affording equality of opportunity to children from low-income families in the historically disadvantaged communities of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay in the Western Cape. A registered non-profit company, Bright Start was borne from a realisation that sending a child to a quality school would not alone result in the child's academic, developmental, social or emotional success. Children need so much more in order to reach their full potential and not all of this growth and development takes place in the classroom. Our support to these children and families extends beyond mere school fees: we provide a dedicated mentor to work closely with the school, child and family; we run cultural enrichment holiday programmes and camps for the children; we offer support in Maths and Literacy; we provide safe and reliable transport in the Bright Start bus; we afford access to subsidised private health and dental care, and we run capacity-building workshops for the parents.

Bright Start aims to take 5 children onto our programme every year... this is an investment of about R170 000 every year. We are constantly seeking partnerships with like-minded individuals and businesses eager to join in our efforts to ensure that these children receive quality, holistic education and the opportunity of a bright future. Every contribution, no matter the size, makes a relevant and lasting difference.

Cape Leopard Trush Charity

The Cape Leopard Trust’s purpose and vision is to ensure the long-term survival of leopards, their habitat and their prey, for the benefit of nature and society. We do this through rigorous scientific research, applied conservation initiatives and environmental outreach and education, in collaboration with communities, private landowners and organisations.

Hout Bay Volunteers EMS Charity

HBVEMS serves the community of Hout Bay, Cape Town and the surrounds. HBVEMS is run by roughly 40 volunteers who provide the crews to work 4 shifts every weekend. Attending to everything from car crashes to heart attacks the service is only possible thanks to the generous donations of our sponsors.