In August 2012 I posted a blog warning you trail junkies out there to get ready for the arrival of Skyrunning in South Africa (read that blog post here). Well, that time has come! The news is out. It's official. 30th November, northern Lesotho. Carve the date in your diaries, and get training - this one's a must!
A new ultra-distance race has hit southern
Africa’s trail running calendar with the announcement of the Lesotho Ultra
Trail, to take place in northern Lesotho on 30 November.
Created by well-known KZN race organiser
Andrew Booth, the 68km race will traverse mountainous, rocky trails combining
steep ascents, descents, some contour running and loads of single track, will
be hosted by Maliba Mountain Lodge, just one hour south from the Free State
town of Clarens.
Sanctioned by the South African Skyrunning
Association (SASA), the event will be recognised by the International
Skyrunning Federation (ISF) as Africa’s first Ultra Skymarathon®, earning it
the potential of being placed in the global circuit of ultras on the
international trail calendar.
Defined as mountain running up to or
exceeding 2 000m, where the incline exceeds 30% and where the climbing
difficulty is not more than 11˚ gradient, the sport of skyrunning has taken
the trail running world by storm in Europe, America and Asia over the past 20
|raw, real single track trail running is what the Lesotho Ultra Trail is all about|
Skyrunning, a term coined by the ISF, is a
discipline conceived by Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a
handful of fellow climbers during the early1990s, pioneered records and races
on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps. In 1993, sponsored by Fila,
skyrunning took off across the world’s mountain ranges with a circuit of
challenging races spread from the Himalayas to the Rockies, from Mount Kenya to
the Mexican volcanoes.
Giacometti’s term skyrunning is, as the
name suggests, where earth and sky meet.
Today, skyrunning has grown to span some
200 races worldwide, with about 30 000 participants from 54 countries.
Formed in 2011, SASA is an associate member
of the ISF, and aims to promote and facilitate the growth of skyrunning in
|Maliba Mountain Lodge, host to the Lesotho Ultra Trail|
“The Lesotho Ultra Trail is the ideal event
to pioneer the way forward for skyrunning in southern Africa,” said SASA
chairman James Hallett. “Not only does the location and route of
the race represent the philosophy of skyrunning, but we have no doubt that it
will the race be of a world class calibre. Offering spectacular terrain,
incredible high altitude vistas and a 5-star host venue, we are extremely
excited about the prospects of the Lesotho Ultra Trail.”
Hallett is confident that the Lesotho Ultra
Trail will be incorporated into the ISF World Ultra Series, a new addition to
the Federation’s global series offering.
“Following the inaugural running of the
race in November, we will submit our recommendation and application to the ISF
for possible consideration into the 2014 series. If successful, this will put
South Africa into the world skyrunning arena, further exposing our country to
top international athletes.
Booth said he believed there to be a great
synergy between the race, its location and the development of skyrunning in
|the Hlomo Pass, 3100m|
“The Maluti Mountains offer some of the
best terrain for high altitude running in the world. To be able to stage what
is sure to become a world class event in this region is very special, and we
look forward to playing a role in the pioneering of skyrunning in southern
He added that the event’s partnership with
Maliba Mountain Lodge as host for the race added an extra angle of quality to
Hallett added that as the first official
skyrunning event in southern Africa, the Lesotho Ultra Trail will also help
facilitate the creation of a national circuit of skyrunning events.
“The Lesotho highlands and the regions of
South Africa surrounding Lesotho are prime skyrunning regions, and we will be
working with other race organisers in this area and around South Africa to
develop the opportunities that present themselves there,” concluded Hallett.
Keep a watch on the SASA website
or follow SASA on Twitter @skyrunningza for more Skyrunning info!
* photos credited to Maliba Mountain Lodge and Andrew Booth
Labels: Andrew Booth, International Skyrunning Federation, ISF, Lesotho, Lesotho Ultra Trail, Maliba Mountain Lodge, Maluti, SASA, Skyrunning, South African Skyrunning Association, Ultra Skymarathon