The Cape Town Marathon is one of the most sought-after events in the Mother city and is held annually in September/October. 

It’s a flagship event of the Cape Town Marathon Festival, which attracts thousands of runners from all over the world. If you’re an enthusiastic onlooker, the marathon is no less than a treat to watch. 

The seafront promenade and scenic view of Table Mountain always make the Cape Town marathon one of the most beautiful races. However, the marathon route passes through some tricky areas that are closed off for vehicles on the day of the race. 

So, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best spectator spots for the Cape Town marathon, including alternative routes you can take.

To make the most of your spectator experience, it’s essential to have an understanding of the Cape Town Marathon course and road closures on race day. 

Cape Marathon Course Overview

The marathon starts on Fritz Sonnenburg Road, where runners will start on a 500-meter (0.3-mile) stretch until they reach Beach Road. 

Fritz Sonnenberg Rd. will be fully closed from Stephan Way to Beach Rd. between 04h00 and 08h00. Local access to the Metropolitan Golf Course via Bay Road will be permitted until 06h00. 

Turning right onto Beach Road, they continue for about a kilometer (0.6 miles) until they reach a roundabout in the renowned V&A Waterfront area.

At the roundabout, runners make a right turn onto Granger Bay Boulevard. Continuing along this route, they pass by the DHL Stadium on the right. A left turn onto the M6 leads them towards the city center.

Granger Bay Boulevard will have restricted access from 06h00 to 07h45 during the Cape Town Marathon. 

However, crossing Beach Rd. will be allowed until just before the first runners arrive, so please plan your travel accordingly to minimize any disruptions.

Upon reaching the Foreshore Freeway bridge, they’ll take a left turn onto the M62. The course remains relatively flat near the 5 km (3.1 miles) mark, passing the Cape Town International Centre (CTICC) and the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

They’ll reach Claremont at the 14th kilometer (8.7 miles). 

Here are some of the closures you can expect in Claremont:

  • Main Rd. from Letterstedt/Claremont Blvd. to Klipper Rd.: Inbound lanes are closed until 6:15 AM. You can’t go beyond Claremont Blvd. from 6:00 to 9:00 AM. Detour: St. Andrews Rd – Belmont Rd – Liesbeek Parkway. Closed from 5:00 to 10:00 AM.
  • Letterstedt/Claremont Blvd. from Main Rd. to Hawthorne Rd: Completely closed from 4:00 to 10:00 AM.
  • Claremont Blvd. from Hawthorne Rd. to Stanhope St.: Southbound lanes are closed, but you can access Claremont Taxi Rank. Closed from 4:00 to 10:00 AM.
  • Stanhope Rd. going eastbound from Claremont Blvd. to Palmyra Rd.: They’ve set up a contraflow on the westbound section. Open from 5:30 to 10:00 AM.
  • Palmyra Rd. from Stanhope Rd. to Keurboom Rd: Fully closed, and no parking is allowed. Closed from 5:30 to 10:15 AM.

From Claremont, the runners will continue through Rondebosch and Mowbray before reaching Observatory at kilometer 25 (15.5 miles) into the race.

Here’s what to expect on road closures:

  • Searle Street from Nelson Mandela Blvd/N2 to Sir Lowry Rd.: It’s a full closure, and parking isn’t allowed. Closed from 5:30 to 9:00 AM.
  • Sir Lowry/Victoria Rd. from Salt River Rd. to Searle St.: Inbound lanes are closed. You can use accommodations across the closed road until 6:00 AM. There’s a contra-flow between N2 and Searle St., and no parking is allowed. Closed from 4:30 to 9:20 AM.
  • Main Rd. from N2 to Salt River Rd.: Inbound lanes are closed. Accommodations across the closed road are allowed until 6:00 AM. No parking is allowed. There’s a contra-flow between N2 and Searle St. Emergency access is available at Groote Schuur Dr/Main Rd, and emergency access is allowed from Browning Str/Nelson Mandela Blvd Inbound. Closed from 5:30 to 9:30 AM.

Runners will hit the 26-kilometer (16.2-mile) mark in Salt River, and the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) mark in District Six.

Here are some notable road closures in CBD, Zonnebloem, and District Six:

  • Nelson Mandela Blvd. (Dock Rd. to Searle St.): Outbound Lanes Closed from 05h00 to 09h00
  • Newmarket St (Strand St to Russell St): Between 06h15 and 12h15
  • Russell St. (New Market Str. to Sir Lowr Rd.): Full Closure 06h15 to 12h15
  • Sir Lowry St. (Christiaan Barnard St/Tennant St. to Russell St.): Full Closure Contraflow between Russell St. and Tennant St. No parking is allowed. The closure is in effect from 06:30 AM to 12:15 PM.
  • Sir Lowry St. (Christiaan Barnard St/Tennant St. to Darling St.): Full Closure Contraflow between Darling St. and Tennant St. No parking is allowed. 06h30 to 12h15
  • Tennant St. Northbound (Darling St/Hanover St. to Sir Lowry Rd.): Between 06:00 and 12:15, Tennant Street will see changes: the northbound lane closes, a southbound contraflow opens, and parking is not allowed. 
  • Darling St. Southbound (Sir Lowry St. to Tennant St.): Accommodations across the closed road are permitted until 06:00, but no parking will be allowed during this time.
  • Long St. (Riebeek St. to Strand St.): Full Closure. No parking is allowed. 06h30 to 13h00
  • Riebeek St. (Buitengracht St. to Bree St.): During the hours of 06:30 to 12:45, there will be a southbound closure with no parking allowed. Motorists can only turn left onto Riebeek Street when traveling down Bree Street.
  • Buitengracht St. (Riebeek St. to Somerset Rd.): The inbound lanes will be closed from 06:45 to 12:30. Accommodations across the closed road are permitted until 07:15 and then again after 11:15. To detour, use Somerset Road, Granger Bay Boulevard, and Helen Suzman Boulevard.

Heading toward the city center, they’ll pass through the Gardens, then Green Point on Helen Suzman Boulevard.

From Green Point, they’ll head to Sea Point, covering 2-3 kilometers (1.2 – 1.9 miles) before making a U-turn back to Green Point.

The 42nd kilometer (26 miles) on Helen Suzman Boulevard in Green Point marks the final leg. The race will end as the runners cross the line on Vlei Road, near Green Point Athletic Stadium. 

Here’s the lowdown on more road closures:

  • Somerset Rd. from Granger Bay Blvd. to Buitengracht St.: Inbound lanes are closed. There’s a contra-flow on the outbound lane, and Grange Bay Blvd. The circle is open. No parking is allowed on the inbound lane. Closed from 6:00 AM to 1:30 PM.
  • Main Rd. from Three Anchor Bay Rd to Granger Bay Blvd.: Inbound lanes are closed. There’s a contra-flow on the outbound lane, and Grange Bay Blvd. The circle is open. No parking is allowed on the inbound lane. Closed from 6:00 AM to 1:30 PM.
  • Three Anchor Bay Rd. from Main Rd. to Beach Rd.: It’s a full closure, and no parking is allowed. Closed from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Beach Rd. from Helen Suzman Blvd. to Queens Rd.: It’s a full closure, and no parking is allowed. Closed from 3:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
  • Buitengracht St. from Riebeek St. Inbound to Somerset Rd Inbound: The intersection is closed. Accommodations across the closed road are allowed until 7:15 AM and after 11:15 AM. There’s a detour to Somerset Rd – Granger Bay Blvd. – Helen Suzman Blvd. Closed from 6:45 AM to 12:30 PM
  • Helen Suzman Blvd. from Beach Rd. to Granger Bay Blvd.: Inbound lanes are closed from 6:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
  • Helen Suzman Blvd. from Beach Rd. to Granger Bay Blvd.: Outbound lanes are closed from 6:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
  • Buitengracht St. from Riebeek St. to Inbound Somerset Rd. Inbound: The intersection is closed. Accommodations across the closed road are allowed until 7:15 AM and after 11:15 AM. There’s a detour to Somerset Rd – Granger Bay Blvd. – Helen Suzman Blvd. Closed from 6:45 AM to 12:30 PM.

Here are the top spectator spots for the Cape Town Marathon 2024, along with essential information about road closures and alternative routes.

The Best Spectator Spots For The 2024 Cape Town Marathon 

The Start and Finish Lines

The start and finish lines are where all the marathon excitement unfolds. The marathon kicks off just outside the famous Cape Town DHL Stadium on Fritz Sonnenburg Road, and it wraps up on Vlei Road in Green Point. 

You’ll have a great chance to catch the start line action from the vicinity of Fritz Sonnenburg Road and along Beach Road before the runners make their way onto Granger Bay Boulevard.

As you make your way along Beach Road, you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and entertainment to keep you engaged. 

It’s important to note that these areas will have strict controls and there might be limited access to certain parts of the finish line due to the crowds.

The stadium is easily accessible by taking the MyCiTi bus service with stops nearby. 

6km (3.7 miles): Woodstock

At the 6km (3.7 miles) mark in Woodstock, runners will be passing by Victoria Road and Fairview Avenue. 

This is where the second hydration point will be along the route, and runners are still feeling fresh at this stage, with the last athletes expected to pass here around 8 a.m. 

12km (7.5 miles): Claremont Blvd. & Mill, Claremont

Around the 12km (7.5 miles) mark, runners will be at the corner of Claremont Boulevard and Mill Street in Claremont. 

If your Sunday morning routine involves visiting the Virgin Active gym in Claremont, you can add to your workout by cheering on the marathon participants. 

15km (9.3 miles): Michael’s Restaurant and Rondebosch Park

As the race progresses to the 15km (9.3 miles) mark, you can find Michael’s Restaurant near Rondebosch Park. Michael’s opens its doors at 8 a.m. on Sunday, providing an excellent spot to enjoy a coffee while watching the marathon action from the sidewalk. 

It’s a pleasant way to be part of the event and support the runners.

19km – 20km (11.8 – 12.2 miles): Rondebosch Common

Runners will approach Rondebosch Common around the 19km to 20km (11.8 – 12.2 miles) mark. This part of the course can seem challenging as participants approach the halfway mark. 

Your cheers and encouragement can help boost their spirits and keep them motivated as they tackle this section of the race.

25km – 27km (15.5 – 16.8 miles): Albert Road / Newmarket Street, Salt River

Between the 25km and 27km (15.5 – 16.8 miles) points, runners will be on Albert Road and Newmarket Street in Salt River. 

While this part of the route is relatively straight and fast, runners may start feeling the mental strain. Your support between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. can provide much-needed motivation and encouragement.

30km (18.6 miles): Darling Street, District Six

At the 30km (18.6 mile) mark, runners will be on Darling Street in District Six. 

This stretch takes them past significant landmarks, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Castle of Good Hope, and City Hall, where Nelson Mandela delivered his first speech as a free man in 1990. 

It’s a pivotal point in the race, as they will have their biggest climb in the race and your cheers can boost their spirits as they reach this iconic part of the course.

31km – 34km (19.3 – 21.1 miles): Plein / St Johns / Hatfield; Orange Street & Long Street

Between the 31km and 34km (19.3 – 21.1 miles) points, they will run through several streets, including Plein, St. Johns, Hatfield, Orange Street, and Long Street. 

These streets are easily accessible on foot by surrounding residents and offer ample opportunities to motivate your favorite runners. Long Street, in particular, will be bustling with activity, as it’s home to the Adidas cheer zone. 

This part of the race is where many runners may hit a mental wall, so your encouragement between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. can make a significant difference.

35km (21.7 mile): Green Point Main Road

The 35km (21.7 mile) mark is where the KFM cheer zone is located, and runners can almost taste the finish before they head back towards Sea Point for their final loop. 

This section features Green Point Main Road, with many brunch and lunch options available for spectators. Your cheers and positive energy can provide the boost runners need to push through this challenging part of the race.

40km (24.9 miles): Beach Road / St John’s Road, Sea Point

As runners approach the 40km (24.9 miles) mark, they’ll be on Beach Road and St John’s Road in Sea Point. At this stage, most runners are just eager to finish. 

Your positive vibes and energy can help them stay motivated as they hit the final hydration station on the route, hosted by Sanlam, before making their final push to the finish line.

42km (26.1 miles): Helen Suzman Drive, Green Point

The finish line is located on Vlei Road in Green Point. 

There will be public seating available on a first-come, first-served basis, making it an ideal place to watch the drama unfold in the elite races early in the morning and follow the rest of the race. 

It’s a great vantage point to witness the excitement of the finish line festivities.

Will I Be Able To Track My Runner Live On Race Day?

You can easily keep tabs on your runner’s marathon’s progress by downloading the UltimateLIVE app from either the Google Play Store or Apple Store

Once you’ve got it installed, use the search tab and type in “Cape.” You’ll see two events: the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Trail and Peace Runs (Saturday Events) and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (Sunday) event. Click on the event you want to track participants in.

To track your runner, search for them by entering their name or race number in the Name / Number search bar. Once you find them, click on their name, and then press the “Star” icon to add them to your favorites.

If you want to receive push notifications for your favorite runners, press the bell icon. You’ll receive notifications for each split point they pass. The app will display the running time of your selected runners, starting from when they began the race.

How To Watch And Follow The Cape Town Marathon Event Live

If you’re in South Africa, you won’t miss a moment of the action! Tune in to SS Variety Channel 4 and KFM 94.5 radio, with coverage starting at 6:00 AM local time (GMT +2). 

You can also stay updated with live reports on the official Cape Town Marathon Facebook page. And for those looking for more flexibility, catch the Cape Town Marathon live and on-demand in HD on DAZN ES, available on any device. Enjoy the marathon from wherever you are!

Top 7 Tips For Cape Town Marathon Spectators:

  1. Know Your Runner’s Number: To track your runner’s progress, find out their assigned race number. Utilize tracking apps or websites, but keep in mind that there may be delays in tracking due to the high number of runners.
  2. Know What Your Runner Is Wearing: Given the large crowds, it’s essential to know what your runner is wearing to spot them easily. Communicate your attire to your runner as well, so they can identify you. Some spectators use helium balloons to be more visible.
  3. Cheer For Everyone: Spread positivity by cheering for all participants in the race. Bring a cowbell to make noise without straining your hands. Call out runners’ names or team names, and offer motivating phrases like “You look great” and “You can do it.” Avoid telling walking runners that they “look good” and opt for more encouraging words.
  4. Plan Your Stay In Advance: If you’re staying overnight, secure hotel reservations well in advance. This is especially important if you plan to stay near the starting line, finish line, or specific mile markers along the route, as accommodations tend to fill up quickly.
  5. Wear Comfortable Shoes: Expect to cover a significant distance while spectating, so consider wearing comfortable running or walking shoes.
  6. Be Prepared For Cape Town Weather: Cape Town’s weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and bring items like warm hats (ones that won’t blow off), windbreakers, waterproof or plastic ponchos, gloves, and even foot and hand warmers to stay comfortable.
  7. Stay Hydrated and Bring Snacks: Dehydration can happen even while standing still due to the excitement of the race. Carry water or your preferred nonalcoholic beverage, along with snacks, to stay nourished and hydrated.
  8. Bring A Battery Backup Source. Be sure to carry a battery pack as the tracking app eats a lot of battery life and you want to be able to track where your runner is towards the end of the race and snap important race-finishing photos

Shona is the former Head of Sport Science at the High-Performance Centre, University of Pretoria. She returned from Madrid, Spain, in 2013 where she completed her MBA in Sport Management with Universidad Europea de Madrid (Real Madrid FC). Shona’s current work and interest lies in endurance sport (running/triathlon) conditioning and sport science working with elite ultra-endurance athletes such as Caroline Wostmann (2015 Comrades & 2Oceans winner). Aside from football strength & conditioning, Shona’s other passion and expertise lies in endurance sport (running/triathlon) as well as Women in Sport. She has competed in 4 Half IronMan distance events and three 2Oceans Ultramarathons herself. She has also worked with other elite female athletes such as London 2012 bronze medallist in canoeing, Bridgitte Hartley.

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