Running the Kingdom
Words: Terence Vrugtman, Adventure Life ǀ Photos: Anthony Grote
On 29 November 2014, the Kingdom of Lesotho will play host to the second edition of the fast-growing Lesotho Ultra Trail (LUT2014), Africa's first Ultra Skymarathon®. Although this fledgling event is new on the South African and international trail calendar, it's already highly-rated and being compared to some of the top trail races that are held in South Africa by participants.
Who to watch out for
The LUT2014 has attracted a number of local and international runners from a variety of backgrounds, who are all hoping to clinch a podium placing. From South Africa, there's Lucky Miya, Andrew Hagen (LUT2013 Winner), Ben Brimble, Tracey Zunckel (LUT2013 Winner), Iain and Su Don Wauchope and Trish Bahlmann, who will take on the challenge and fight to be King/Queen of Lesotho. International athletes looking to upset the locals and add another race to their already impressive running careers are Scott Jaime (USA), Sarah Ridgway (Wal) and Kristin Ohm-Pendersen (Can). This well-spread and highly competitive field will make for an interesting race.
Taking place in the heart of the Lesotho Highlands, the Maluti Mountain Range offers some of the finest terrain for high-altitude running in the world. Here you will find an intricate network of trails that have been established by livestock and the shepherds, who use the trails to pass through the Maluti Mountains on foot. As such, the range is a perfect location for Africa’s only Ultra Skymarathon.
The 50 km LUT2014 is going to be a tough one.
There have been a few minor changes made to the 2013 route and the big challenges are the altitude (3,000 m+) and elevation gain over the ultra distance.
About the Ultra SkyMarathon®
The LUT2014 falls into the trail category, known as an Ultra SkyMarathon®. To do so, the run needs to meet certain criteria like, such as have a minimum of 2,000 m of total elevation gain and be between 30 km and 42 km in distance. The course may include paths, trails, rock, and the like, but it cannot exceed
With overwhelming support from partners that include The North Face, Race Food, KZN Trail Running, Metropolitan Lesotho, Territorio Trail, South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) and Maliba Lodge, the event has a solid grounding and looks to establish itself firmly on the adventurous runners calendar.
The Lesotho Ultra Trail is a must for all trail runners. Add it your 2015 calendar now!
I personally can't wait to experience the Maluti Mountains as part of the Lesotho Ultra Trail.
For more information about the race, visit www.lesothoultratrail.com
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