50KM Ultra Trail Route & Info

Ultra Route Description

The Ultra course starts out with an 8km loop along the Maliba Upper & Lower Trails, bringing runners back to the first checkpoint and Aid Station, which is just a few hundred meters from the Lodge. It allows runners a proper warm up before any of the big climbs and spreads the field out.

The first really steep climb is the switchback trail past the beautiful Three Cascades Waterfall, leading up to the second checkpoint and Aid Station. Affectionately known as Camp Davis, this aid station is named after Jack and Michelle Davis, who manned this aid station for years and hosted many Trail Lab events here. The 50km ultra will revisit this point, which lies at 2750m above sea 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 mark, at the crest of this ridge.

10km of running at 3000m plus asl then ensue. There is a checkpoint roughly halfway along the ridge at 24km and another at 29km, where runners start to descend, affectionately known as Camp Jube-Jube. Predominantly a Safety Check Point, you may be offered a Jube-Jube sweet to boost your sugar levels if you look a little pale after this high-altitude section! The descent is long, steep and tricky but well rewarded with the Main Aid station at the bottom.

Note the distance between Camp Davis Aid Station and the Main Aid Station is 20km. In wet years, water along this section is plentiful, however in dry years water is hard to come by. Make sure you carry plenty of water and nutrition through this section!

The biggest challenge of the day on the 50km 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 enjoyable. 

The welcome of cow bells and cheering at Maliba Lodge and sense of accomplishment is second to none!!

Download file: _LUT2016.gpx
50km ultra trail elevation profile.
50km ultra trail elevation profile. Total elevation gain: approx. 2500m

General

Stream crossings, steep ascents and descents and loose rock are encountered along the route.
Flat sections occur along mountain-side contour paths and flatter mountaintops, 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+). Total elevation gain is approximately 2500m.
The course is run at its highest altitude (3000m – 3155m) from 18km – 30km
The entire course is marked, but carrying a gps navigation device with the route downloaded is advised in the case of mist.

Cut-Off's

There are two cut-offs. The first is at 9 am at Camp Davis (15km mark) and the second at 2.30 pm at the Main Aid Station at the 36km mark. All runners must be past these points by the cut-off times, otherwise, they will not be allowed to continue. The Race Organisers decision is final. The race organising and medical team reserve the right to remove anyone from the course at any stage for medical and safety reasons.