The PUFfer

The Peninsula Ultra Fun Run, known for short as PUFfeR, is a no-frills 80km ultra-trail running event that has been held annually in Cape Town, South Africa since 1995. Eighteen brave souls attended the first pre-race briefing at the Fish Hoek Athletic Club, only to have their race postponed to the following weekend due to stormy weather. It’s in this spirit of adventure, unpredictability and a very diverse terrain- that the PUFfeR remains a coveted race with a current field of just 200 runners.

Annually – the race starts at 5h30 and is the brainchild of a Belgian, Jean-Paul van Belle, the first race which took place in August 1995 saw 18 Runners tackle the inaugural PUFfer route which starts at Cape Point and passes through and over Red Hill Pass, Simon’s Town , Black Hill, Ou Kaapse Weg ,over the Fish Hoek Valley to Silvermine Nature Reserve, through Tokai Forest Plantation and the Vlakkenberg footpath to Constantia Nek, over Table Mountain to the summit at Maclear’s Beacon (1,086 meters above sea level), down Platteklip Gorge to Kloofnek and finally via Signal Hill to Granger Bay.The race ends at Hamilton Rugby Club in Green Point, making the route truly unique and world-class. Those who make the cut-offs and survive the journey are greeted by family, friends, well-wishers and ice cold beer!

Apparently Jean-Paul led a mountain deprived childhood in Belgium and as you can see he makes up for it by covering the entire Table Mountain National Park!

As if this is not tough enough, from 2000 to 2014, the Tuffer PUFfer was held. This version sees runners starting the night before, running the race backwards from the Waterfront to Cape Point and then returning the next day.

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) has been an ardent supporter of the event as a co-organiser, as well as the scientific and wellness partner, since 2012. This year SSISA, along with Lipco Law for All, FutureLife, @Life, Columbia, Mizuno and SANParks –  is hosting two social media photo competitions ahead of the race with two sets of 14 winners getting a free technical training session with a PUFfeR legend and our SSISA biokineticists up and down Platteklip Gorge- followed by a sumptuous breakfast at Tsogo Sun Newlands.

We are also hosting a breakfast for 70 PUFfeR runners, which includes a pre-meal 20km or so training run. Aside from the slap-up breakfast at Fish Hoek AC, we will also have SSISA experts available to tackle your questions after the run.

The PUFfeR registration and route recce will also take place at SSISA’s Auditorium on Thursday 18 August and runners will get together one last time to compare training notes and tips while familiarising themselves with the route terrain, safety elements and potential weather conditions.

During the 8 week build up to PUFfeR – journalist and trail runner, Bryony McCormick, will be assessed by the running division of SSISA’s High Performance Centre and will receive a tailor-made training programme. She will document her PUFfeR journey in a series of weekly blogs which will be published on so be sure to follow her journey.

Mark Boucher and Marius Hurter are just some of the celeb athletes on the entry list and we look forward to following their journeys to, and during PUFfeR in an event best described as ‘Running in Heaven, Feeling like Hell”.


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