Drakensberg Trail Run Entries Open

The organisers of the Ultra Trail Drakensberg trail running festival plan to stage tore 100km, 62km and 30km events so that all three races finish at the Bushmans Neck hotel after sunset. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Underberg – Entries have opened for the inaugural Ultra Trail Drakensberg, a 100km trail running challenge that will form part of a festival of trail running in the Southern Drakensberg on 29 April 2017 and offers qualifying points for the iconic Ultra Trail Mont Blanc.

The weekend’s programme also includes the 62 kilometer Giants Cup Uncut (GCU) and the novel 30 kilometer Sundowner Run (SDR), both taking place at the same time as the signature 100 kilometer Ultra Trail Drakensberg (UTD)  trail run that ascends Sani Pass before traversing the escarpment via Twelve Apostles, Khanti Ridge, Gxalingenwa Gorge, Hodgson’s Peaks, Garden Castle, Rhino Peak and Langalibalele’s Pass.

The ultra-trail race is the first of its kind to take place in the Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site and offering a route the serious trail runners have hankered after for many years that covers 4400 m of vertical climb and occupies an altitude window between 1600m and 2865m.

Vitally, for serious trail runners, the event has been confirmed as a 5 point ITRA qualifier for the iconic Ultra Trail Mont Blanc.

“This will take trial running up a couple of notches and will test the limits of endurance of even the finest athletes,” said race organiser, Spurg Flemington.

Flemington confirms a 30 hour cut-off for the 100km UTD event has been put in place and said that the 62km Giants Cup Uncut and the 30km Sundowner Run would be timed to allow the athletes taking part in all three events to converge on the common finish venue at the Bushman’s Neck Hotel at more or less the same time, a move they hope will encourage camaraderie between the athletes taking part in this trail running festival.

The 62km Giants Cup Uncut starts at the Sani Pass Hotel and follows the exact path of the Giants Cup Hiking Trail, with 2400m of vertical climbing and occupies an altitude window between 1600m and 2150m. It carries an 11 hour cut-off and a three point ITRA rating for Ultra Trail Mont Blanc.

The Sundowner Run starts at Castleburn at 4pm, allowing the runners to run into the sunset and then complete the rest of the 30km run in darkness using their own headlamps.

All three events will conclude with an ongoing finish line party and an awards lunch on the Sunday.

Entries have been strictly limited for all three events, with the 100km UTD catering for a maximum of 300 runners and the 62km GCU and 30km SDR open to a maximum of 150 runners each.

More information can be found at www.ultratraildrakensberg.com