South Africa is home to many fantastically scenic but also incredibly challenging marathons. One of the most challenging must be “The Puffer” This 80km race begins at Cape Point and ends in the waterfront. The distance in itself is challenging, but what makes this such a gruelling race is the fact that the route follows the Table Mountain chain. Thus the ground underfoot is mostly rocky or sandy, with repeated hard uphills and difficult downhills. (Imagine, after running for several hours having to then race DOWN Platteklip gorge! Anyone who knows this route knows it is steep, with large uneven steps, and often loose underfoot.) There are numerous checkpoints along the route but for much of the way the runners are on their own or in small groups. The route is unmarked therefore a knowledge of the mountain, the route, and the ability to read a map is also essential. Obviously on such a difficult race entry is limited and the organisers ensure all the racers are experienced and capable.The winner this year (2010) ran this in a incredible 6 hours and 57 minutes!!
However, for those who would consider the Puffer a bit to easy!! There is The Tuffer Puffer!! This race follows begins in the waterfront with runners running all the way to Cape Point in time to join the other racers as they begin the puffer. This year, the winning time for this race was 25 hours and 56 minutes.
Congratulations to all the runners. Finishing this amazing marathon is an incredible feat.
For more information have a look at their website. http://www.puffer.fishhoekac.com/index.htm.