"

Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester


Monday, September 5, 2011

Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge Preview

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I ran my first MAS 50km challenge. Time really flies when you are having fun and I can say with a smile that living my life is having fun, so time flies!


This Saturday I will be running in the Drakensberg mountains again for one of the greatest mountain races on the planet. I’m really excited about the whole weekend away in the mountains.


I’ll be running this route…


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…to the top of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and back again.


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From the official race description:
“Make no mistake, the Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge is a "toughie". But it's one of those races that are worth it. The route follows a hiking path up the Mahai valley and past the Mahai Falls to Witsieshoek Mountain Resort, a climb of some 1700 metres (5578ft) over a distance of 9 kms, and the first of four refreshment points. From here to the Sentinel Car Park, a distance of 9 kms, it's very rough undulating dirt road resulting in a further climb of some 300 metres (984ft) with fantastic views all around on a clear day. From the Sentinel Car Park to the top and back, water must be carried. Assume that the Tugela River is not flowing well enough to provide water on the summit. A concrete path is followed for a short distance then back to a zig-zag hiking path past the Witches, the Sentinel, Western Buttress and Sentinel Caves to the Chain Ladders, a further climb of 450 metres (1476ft). The altitude will be affecting you by this stage, especially those runners who live and train at sea level.
Everyone wears a safety belt and sliding device attached to fixed ropes alongside the ladders. Mountain Club of South Africa helpers will assist you to get attached and detached to the fixed safety lines. The trick is not to look down, but to concentrate on moving one hand at a time up the two ladders. You'll reach the top in next to no time, a short scramble over rocky terrain, a skip over the Tugela River and a much appreciated run down a gentle slope to the Tugela Falls. Now the hard part begins! Labouring up to the Sentinel Gully. There is a risk of loose rocks and stones being dislodged in The Gully. Make use of the fixed ropes as far as possible, they will give you stability and guide you away from the loose sections. You cannot run down The Gully. Just proceed carefully and cautiously and you'll reach the bottom soon enough.
You'll be back on the path which led to the Chain Ladders. Just follow the same route back to the Sentinel Car Park, Witsieshoek and the Finish utilizing the refreshment points along the dirt road.



TAKE NOTE: All runners have to ascend two chain ladders to reach the summit of the Amphitheatre before running to the lip of the Tugela River. A team from All Out Adventures, a locally based adventure group within the valley, will be manning the top, middle and bottom of the chain ladders, harnessing runners into safety belts and helmets, then guiding them up both ladders to ensure safety at all times. Those runners that fail to comply with their safety measures will be disqualified from the event.


Have a fantastic week everyone!

25 comments:

Teamarcia said...

Wow what a challenge. Looks more like a mountain climb to me. Be safe and enjoy it!

ultra collie said...

carb up carb up carb up (and good luck)

Ewa said...

Johann, this is fantastically insane! Wow! I would be crawling this course. I hope you will take your camera with you, but how on earth will you be able to take pictures on this crazy course?
Can't wait to hear about this race! Another WOW! :)

Lisa said...

oh my gosh, there are safety harnesses involved in this run? too hardcore for me!!

misszippy said...

Ok--that is really, really crazy about the ladder, but I think it's really, really cool! Can't wait to hear about your adventure.

Robin said...

Quite the adventure...good luck!

Lauren said...

Oh that sounds so much fun. Hellish fun, but fun! Best of luck to you, take care on this great adventure!

4 Winds said...

Looks amazing, Johann. Gives me itchy feel. Enjoy and be safe.

Paul

4 Winds said...

or even itchy feet!

Mike said...

Chain ladders...Awesome!!

A-Pi (Peter) said...

Wow, ladders too! All the best when you conquer the course!

Raina said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, Johann! I hope to make it to SA someday to enjoy walking/hiking these places you race :)

Totally fascinated by your comment previously about licensing for races. We register for all races here, race by race. No license or anything. All the registrations look pretty much the same- liability waiver & course details- regardless of whether it's a fun run or race. Makes me wonder how much different the races there are compared to here and if other nations require licenses.

Indi said...

WoW!! Go get them mountain!! Good Luck!

Char said...

Altitude? Safety ropes? It sounds like extreme trail racing. Good luck.

Giorgio said...

I still remember your running report which you wrote last year after you had run the Drakensberg Amphitheatre race!
Good luck, Johann, and enjoy the adventurous weekend away in the mountain!

HappyTrails said...

Looks awesome - another spectacular challenge on your running resume! The plaster model makes it look so small and easy - how deceiving....

ajh said...

Holy Moly. Those chain ladders sound incredibly hard. So not for me! Good luck and enjoy it as I am sure you will.

Jerry Smallwood said...

...I am crying out in pure jealousy of you doing such a brilliant event and just love the idea of the 3D model. Have a great time, I know you will love every moment.

Jill said...

I remember this race from last year and I thought you were a little nutsy to do it ;). Pikes Peak is going to be a piece of cake for you, you are one tough BA runner!! Can't wait to hear all the details! run strong, Johann - already excited for you!!!

The Green Girl said...

Johann, you always take on the most awesome challenges.

Good luck!

Laurie said...

Oh my. This looks awesome. No, wait. It looks terrifying. No, wait. Awesome. Ok, awesome and terrifying.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Gorgeous scenery! Since you're strong on the uphills, I'll bet you'll do great!

Running Diva Mom said...

just found you-- great blog! -- keep up the great work!! :)

Molly said...

Careful of those loose rocks! Good Luck, I know you'll do great : )

Black Knight said...

That is a challenge. Eat tons of pasta before starting the adventure. Are you going to lose the match South Africa - Wales?