Your 2023 Spectator’s Guide

Athlete Info   |  Oct. 12, 2023

One of the biggest springtime events in the Mother City is the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, with over 27 000 runners from across the globe gathering to explore our diverse suburbs and landmarks on foot.

While athletes train for months to run a marathon, marathon watching takes little to no effort at all. Residents living close to the route can simply walk or cycle to their nearest point along the route and cheer on the athletes as they run by. 

We would love to transform the Sanlam Cape Town Route into the Mother City’s biggest block party from start to finish, but please be mindful of the road closures in place, and don’t drive to different points on the route and add to the strain on Cape Town’s traffic. Stay local and support locally!  There is a spectator point for everyone, no matter where you live, work, or visit along the route.

Here are our top picks to show your support on Race Day:

The Start:  The start has moved to Fritz Sonnenberg Rd and heads out towards Granger Bay. While Granger Bay Boulevard will be closed to pedestrians, there will be an opportunity for locals to view from Beach Road.

8km: Off-ramp, N2 – The 2nd hydration point is located on the off-ramp out of town. Runners will still be fresh, and the last athletes should pass here around 8am.

14.2km: c/o Claremont Blvd & Mill, Claremont – If your Sunday morning routine involves hitting the Virgin Active in Claremont, add to your workout by cheering on runners as they come past the Virgin Active activation between 7am and 9am. 

17.5km: Michael’s Restaurant & Rondebosch Park – Michael’s opens at 8am on Sunday – the perfect time to order a coffee and watch the marathon action from the sidewalk.

20.5km – 22.5km: Rondebosch Common – The loop around the Common can seem never-ending on Race Day, and runners need all the encouragement they pass the half-way mark.

27km – 29km: Albert Road / Newmarket Street, Salt River – This part of the route is straight and fast, but the mind games are starting to kick in and many marathoners start to question their life choices.  We call on all the locals to cheer on these runners as they come through between 7am and 11am.

30.4km:  Darling Street – The 450m stretch along Darling between Canterbury and Plein takes runners past the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Castle of Good Hope and the iconic City Hall where Nelson Mandela delivered his first speech as a free man in 1990. This is bound to be a hive of activity with awesome photo opportunities as participants run past Madiba’s statue on the City Hall balcony. 

30.9km – 34km: Plein / St Johns / Hatfield; Orange Street & Long Street – These streets are easily accessible on foot by surrounding residents, and offer ample opportunities to motivate your favourite runners as they tackle the climb up to Orange Street. Bustling Long Street will be the hub of all the action though. Home to the adidas cheer zone, this point of the race is likely where many runners will hit the wall, and therefore the perfect place to encourage them as they tackle the last 10km to the finish. There are many coffee shops and restaurants along this stretch, and the majority of athletes pass here between 8am and 12pm. So sit back, order a drink, and get your cheer on.

35km: Green Point Main Road – With the KFM cheer zone situated at the 35km mark, runners can practically taste the finish before they are diverted back towards Sea Point for their final loop. From Giovanni’s to Jason’s and beyond – there are many brunch and lunch options available as you watch the runners do all the hard work. The road may be flat, but this flatness makes it unrelenting with no chance to rest those legs. Shout, cheer, encourage, give high fives… just don’t tell them the finish is around the corner!

40km: Beach Road / St John’s Road, Sea Point – The last few kms are always the hardest, and at this point most runners JUST. WANT. TO. FINISH. Project some of your positive vibes and energy their way as runners hit the final hydration station on the route, hosted by Sanlam, before they run / walk / limp to the finish. They’re almost done, and you can boost their spirits to get them to the end.

42km: Helen Suzman Drive, Green Point – There will be public seating on the finish line, available on a first come, first served basis. This is a great place to watch the drama unfold in the elite races early in the morning, and also a fantastic vantage point to follow the rest of the race. 

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