Skyrunning in southern Africa promises to be bigger and higher than ever this year with the announcement of the 2015 South African Skyrunner® Series, presenting nine challenging events in the national line up.
Grown from just three events in 2014, its inaugural year, the South African Skyrunner® Series has been snatched up by race organisers across the region, and now offers trail runners a wide variety of options in terms of distances and degrees of technical skyrunning difficulty.
2015 Series Race Schedule
28 March: Drakensberg Northern Trail (Skymarathon®)
(Oliviershoek Pass, KZN) – 42km, vertical gain 2 100m
4 April: Phoenix Skymarathon®
(Afriski, Lesotho) – 30km, vertical gain 1 015m
4 April: Phoenix Ultra Skymarathon®
(Afriski, Lesotho) – 53km, vertical gain 2 517m
25 April: Ingeli Skymarathon®
(Kokstad, KZN) – 42km, vertical gain 1 800m
13 June: Uitsoek Skymarathon®
(Nelspruit, Mpumalanga) – 36km, vertical gain 2 167m
26 July: Extreme Dodo Trail
(Ultra Skymarathon®) (Mauritius) – 50km, vertical gain 3 500m
8 August: Wolkberg Trail Run
(Skymarathon®) (Haenertsburg, Limpopo) – 32km, vertical gain 1 800m
24 October: Matroosberg Skymarathon®
(Western Cape) – 37km, vertical gain 2 100m
28 November: Lesotho Ultra Trail
(Ultra Skymarathon®) (Maliba Lodge, Lesotho) – 50km, vertical gain 3 200m
“We are also proud to announce the inclusion of the Extreme Dodo Trail (Mauritius) in the series this year, which will not only be a part of our national series but will also be recognised by the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) as the African Continental Championships,” says James Hallett, chairman of the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA).
Defined as mountain running up to or exceeding 2 000m, where the incline exceeds 30% and where the climbing difficulty is not more than 11˚ gradient, the sport of skyrunning has taken the trail running world by storm in Europe, America and Asia over the past 20 years.
Skyrunning, a term coined by the ISF, is a discipline conceived by Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a handful of fellow climbers during the early1990s, pioneered records and races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps.
Today, skyrunning has grown to span some 250 registered races worldwide, with about 30 000 participants from 54 countries.
Formed in 2011, SASA is an associate member of the ISF, and aims to promote and facilitate the growth of skyrunning in South Africa.
“Having more races in our national series not only gives trail runners greater scope to choose from in terms of distance and challenge, but also more opportunity for both local and international athletes to experience stunning trails around the greater southern African region. So, all skyrunners – and those who dream of becoming skyrunners – can plan for a year of less cloud and more sky!” says Hallett.