This is it – The full route, 50km of Skyrunning!
The course starts out with a 8km loop that brings runners back to the first check point and Aid Station, which is just a few hundred meters from Maliba Lodge. It allows runners a proper warm up before any of the big climbs and spreads the field out nicely.
The first really steep climb are the switch backs leading up to the second check point and aid station. Affectionately known as Camp Davis, this aid station is manned by Jack and Michelle Davis from Trail Lab. Those doing to 50km will revisit this point, which lies at 2750m above seal level. On leaving this aid station the trail contours before climbing right to the top of the Maluti Mountain Range. The 3rd checkpoint is at the 20km at the crest of the ridge.
10km of running at 3000m plus then ensue. There is a checkpoint roughly half way along the ridge at 24km and another at 29km where runners start to descend. The descent is long, steep and tricky but well rewarded with the main aid station at the bottom.
Note the distance between Aid Station 1 and 2 is 20km. In wet years water along this section is plentiful, in dry years water is hard to come by. Make sure you carry plenty of nutrition through this section.
The biggest challenge of the day on the Ultra Skymarathon course starts around the 40km mark where runners now climb back up to the high altitude aid station- Camp Davis.Reaching the aid station at the top of the second big climb comes with great relief and the final 7km seem relatively easy by comparison. Some of the steep descent off the top will test tiring quads, but the end is in sight and most find the final stages of the race very enjyable.
Stream crossings, steep ascents and descents and loose rock are encountered along the route
Flat sections occur along mountain-side contour paths and flatter mountain tops, some being several kilometers long
There are 2 BIG climbs (and many smaller ones). The first one is 12km into the race (1139m+), the second at 40km (727m+)
The course is run at its highest altitude (3000m – 3155m) from 18km – 30km
The entire course is marked.
There is only one enforced Cut-off at the main Aid Atation at the 36km mark. All runners must be past this pint by 2.30pm, otherwise they will not be allowed to continue. The race organising and medical team reserve the right to remove anyone from course at any stage for medical and safety reasons.