Doing the 10km Big Walk from the Grand Parade to Mowbray

This year was the first time that we participated in the annual Cape Town event known as The Big Walk. The first Big Walk was staged in 1903 (history); currently, its main sponsors are the Cape Times and Discovery Health. According to Google, it “is the biggest timed walking event in the world” (it is?), and its goal is to raise funds for charity. This year, the charities were the Steenberg Foundation, Nazareth House, and Breast Cancer Fundraisers.

We arrive at the Grand Parade - what a view of the blue sky, the iconic mountain and the beautiful City Hall

There are routes of varying lengths; although they start at different areas of the Cape Peninsula, all of them finish at one place: the open field behind St George’s Grammar School, off Liesbeek Parkway. The routes from 20km to 80km are timed, but the others are not. The starting points are as follows:

  • 5 km – Boundary Road, Newlands
  • 10km – Grand Parade in central Cape Town
  • 11km – NY49 sports complex in Gugulethu
  • 12km – the new Green Point Park next to the Stadium
  • 13km – Corner of Main Rd and Zwaan Road, Retreat
  • 20km – Corner of Firgrove Rd and Spaanschemat Rd, Constantia
  • 25km – Fish Hoek beachfront northwards
  • 30km – Long Beach, Simon’s Town station
  • 50km – Fish Hoek beachfront – southwards past Simon’s Town, to the turn-around point for the 50km and the 80km walks, then north towards the school
  • 80km – This humdinger of a walk starts at St George’s Grammar School, heads down all the way past Simon’s Town to the turn-around point, and returns to the school.

We opted for the 10km route. Early on Sunday morning, we parked our car in one of the designated parking areas along Liesbeek Parkway (although we thought we were very early, hundreds of cars were already parked here, so next year we’ll plan to get up even earlier! :-)).

There are thousands and thousands of people doing the 10km route

Then we walked down to the nearest train station, which happened to be Observatory, where we got a ticket (R10 return each), and then joined the crowds waiting for the next train into the city centre. The mood on the train was upbeat, with a wonderful buzz of excitement and camaraderie; everyone was wearing their race numbers or helping others to pin them to their shirts. We made it to the Parade in good time for the start of the walk.

That's me, with the red top and the green Defence Reserves cap

We set off from town around 08h00; for the first kilometres, the route wound through the city centre at a slow pace, because of the sheer numbers of people being funnelled through the narrow city streets. By the time we had reached Roland Street near the Parliament, the crowds had spread out a little, and we could pick up our pace.

A look back at the Finish... we've got to do this again next year, this was fun!

We motored along, keeping an eye on the time, and using gaps in the crowd to move forward. I wanted to attend the Remembrance Day Service at the cenotaph outside the Cape Town train station, which was due to start at 11am, and was worried that we might not make it there in time because of road closures and traffic congestion as a result of the Big Walk. Keeping up such a pace was hard, though.

We were very pleased when we reached the finish line at about 09h40. Not a bad time. We’d made it!!! YAY!!!


Gallery of Photos

3 thoughts on “Doing the 10km Big Walk from the Grand Parade to Mowbray

    • Thanks, Scott. 🙂 Apparently, they had over 35,000 participants across all the walks – with far less people doing the 50km and 80km routes. The 10km route is probably the most popular one! With all the entrance fees (from R30 per person upwards, depending on the length of the walk), I’m sure they raised a nice batch of funds for their charities.

  1. Pingback: Wreath-laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph: Remembrance Day 2015 | Grains of Sand

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