Press Release 28 November 2016
South Africans fend off hot international competition at 2016 Lesotho Ultra Trail.
The 4th edition of the Lesotho Ultra Trail, sponsored by Metropolitan Lesotho and The North Face, took place on the 26 November 2016 in near perfect conditions, after a stormy few days in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. Arguably the largest international field in any trail run in Southern Africa , 170 runners set off from host venue, Maliba Lodge, on Saturday morning for the 50 km Ultra Skymarathon.
Eric Ngubane (RSA) came back to win after losing the lead to Gerard Morales (SPA), only 8 km from the end of the 50km Skymarathon®. Morales intimated before the race that he would use the well known second climb to make his move. He did so, obliterating Ngubane’s 4 minute lead and surging into a 1 minute led by the top of the 3 km climb that starts at the 40km mark. Ngubane then opened up his stride in the final stages to catch and pass Morales winning by a mere 16 seconds. “I had to really believe in myself to win this race, Gerard was so strong on the climbs, but I knew I had a chance with the fast downhill finish” said Ngubane.
While the ladies race was not as tight, South Africa’s Karine Bezuidenhout gained her biggest win to date by holding off a world class field of local and international athletes including Su Don-Wauchope (RSA), Gia Madoley (USA), Krissy Moehl (USA)and Manu Vilaseca (Brazil). She did not lead from the start, but made her move around the half way mark passing Don-Wauchope to take the lead. “I stuck to my race plan and did not go out too hard, when I found myself leading around half way I was very surprised and just had to keep going. Winning against a field like this is a dream come true” Bezuidenhout said.
Skyrunning involves high altitude running, with Lesotho Ultra Trail topping out at 3200m above sea level. The course remains at this altitude, traversing along shepherd trails for 10 km over the Maluti escarpment, before a technical decent takes them to the lowest part of the course at 1900m. The second big climb takes the race into the Ultra Skymarathon® category with 2500m of vertical gain across the 50km.
For many in the field, the course proved to be the most difficult trail running challenge ever experienced. “The second climb almost broke me, but it’s also what got me hooked. It really pushed my limits and made me realise what I am able to do if I put my mind to it” said Ryan Sobey, a Lesotho Ultra Trail finisher.
The race sells out each year with entries opening on 1 February and the event taking place on the last weekend of November. The 2017 event will take place on 25 November. Visit www.lesothoultrtrail.com for more information.
Highlights clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDbX5ETWuIU
Mens winners (Ultra Skymarathon):
1st: Eric Ngubane (5:33:59)
2nd – Gerard Morales (5:34:15)
3rd – Quintin Honey (5:41:04)
4th – Mositi Monyane (6:12:36)
5th – Sampie Mokoakoe (6:23:56)
Ladies winners (Ultra Skymarathon):
1st – Karine Bezuidenhout (6:57:08)
2nd – Su Don-Wauchope (7:13:26)
3rd – Gia Madoley (7:32:04)
4th – Krissy Moehl (7:50:17)
5th – Manu Vilaseca (7:54:32)
- Race name: Lesotho Ultra Trail
- Venue: Tsehlanyane National Park
- Date: Saturday 26 November 2016
- Distances: 50km, 38km
- Start time: 05:30am
- Sponsors: The North Face and Metropolitan Lesotho
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LesothoUltraTrail/
Photo credit: Emma Gatland