Cape Town - The Two Oceans ultra marathon route will detour along Ou Kaapse Weg, event organisers said Friday.
The recent fires that raged along Cape Town's Southern Peninsula caused significant damage to Chapman's Peak's fragile vegetation. Since the fire, the section of the pass most affected -- between Noordhoek to the top lookout point -- has been closed regularly due to high winds and threatening rock falls.
"This is not a decision that was made lightly," general manager of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC Carol Vosloo said in a statement.
"We remained hopeful that Chappies would be available to us until the very end. But it became clear that the extent of the damage done to the mountain, coupled with the vulnerability of the mountain pass to weather changes, would hold a significant safety risk for our runners and volunteers.
"It was simply a risk we were not willing to take, and we have always been very clear in our intention to place participants' safety at the forefront of all planning."
The ultra marathon had previously used the detour route for four years between 2000 and 2003, when Chapman's Peak was originally closed while the tunnels and catchment nets were being constructed.
The April 4 ultra marathon starts in Main Road, Newlands, and takes runners along the scenic South Peninsula route, through Fish Hoek and into Kommetjie. But, instead of heading towards Chapman's Peak, runners will turn towards and over Ou Kaapse Weg, from where they will run along the leafy Spaanschemat River Road.
They will then join the half marathon route at the Ladies Mile/Parish Road intersection before heading onto Southern Cross Drive and along Rhodes Drive and the M3 back to UCT.
Despite the route change, a R1-million bonus remained in place, rewarding the winning male and female runners who break the 56km record.
The men's record of 3:03:44 was set in 1988 by Thompson Magawana, while Frith van der Merwe holds the women's record, for her 3:30:36 run in 1989.