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