Friday, May 10, 2013

Lesotho Ultra Trail announces world class field

Adam Campbell © Arc'teryx
On 30 November 2013, Skyrunners® from all over the world will toe the start line of the inaugural Lesotho Ultra Trail - Africa's first Ultra Skymarathon® - ready to tackle the 55km, high altitude course through the Tsehlanyane National Park in the heart of the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho.

As the event continues to attract the keen interest of both the local and international trail and skyrunning communities, four of the world's top international men's athletes have already confirmed their entry into the race. Americans Mike Wolfe (The North Face), winner of the 2012 Transvulcania Dakota Jones (Montrail/Clif Bar), and 2nd place finisher at the 2012 Hardrock 100 Joe Grant (INOV-8/Arc'teryx), will join 2012 Canadian ultra trail runner of the year Adam Campbell (Arc'teryx) in making the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean to go head to head with some of South Africa's best.

“One aspect that I love about mountain running is the opportunity to explore beautiful places around the world” comments Campbell. “I specifically choose races based on their aesthetic and the accompanying sense of adventure that they bring. Being able to compete in Africa's first Ultra Skymarathon®, amongst some of the most stunning mountain terrain that I've seen more than satisfies that criteria. I can't wait to experience the local culture and to race through the region's mountainous landscape on foot.”

Mike Wolfe © The North face
Mike Wolfe, having never travelled to Africa, is thrilled to be making the journey in November:

“The locale looks amazing, and I have always wanted to travel to South Africa to experience a new landscape and people. It is wonderful that the South African Skyrunning Association and the organizers of Lesotho Ultra Trail are enthusiastic about hosting international athletes. This kind of event helps our sport of ultra running grow on an international level, and continues to grow the international community of runners.”

Amongst the top South African men's athletes already securing their spots, is up-and-coming trail star AJ Calitz (K-Way/Vivobarefoot) joined by winner of the 2013 SA Ultra Trail Champs Nic De Beer and mountain running legend, and winner of the 2012 Otter African Trail Run, Iain Don Wauchope (Mountain Splendour).

Not to be out done, the women's field is also stacking up to be a stellar affair with confirmation already coming in from local South African ultra running legend Linda Doke (Salomon South Africa), winner of the 2013 Women’s SA Ultra Champs Tracy Zunkel (Race Food), 2011 Otter African Trail Run winner Su Don Wauchope (Mountain Splendour) as she makes a firm come back after almost 8 months of injury, new kid on the block Landie Greyling (Salomon South Africa)and 3rd place finisher 2013 Women’s SA Ultra Champs Chantel Nienaber. 

Stephanie Case © Zandy Mangold
On the international front, Canadian ultra-runner and 2nd place finisher at the 2012 Gobi March in China, Stephanie Case, will be making the journey from her newly-adopted home of Kyrgyzstan, ready to test the skills of the local girls.

Having raced at the 2012 Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, one of Europe’s oldest Skymarathon® events, Linda Doke knows the excitement and prospects of skyrunning first hand:

“I’m thrilled to be doing the Lesotho Ultra Trail” explains Doke. “Not only is it a new ultra on the trail calendar,  but it’s in Lesotho, which guarantees fantastic running. Also, being an Ultra Skymarathon® will see the start of skyrunning in southern Africa and having experienced it last year, it’s brilliant that it’s coming to southern Africa!”

Hosted by the luxury 5 star Maliba Mountain Lodge, the Lesotho Ultra Trail will encompass some of the most spectacular mountain trails that the Tsehlanyane National Park has to offer, affording runners the opportunity to climb to over 3150m above sea level while immersed in the rich culture of Africa’s “mountain kingdom”.

For more information about the event, head to or follow @LesothoUltra on Twitter