Ninety skyrunners are kitting up for the penultimate race in the 2016 South African Skyrunner® Series, the Uitsoek SkyMarathon®, which will start at 7am on Saturday 22 October.
As all skyrunning races must do, the 38km route will put runners through their paces – it follows the Uitsoek Hiking Trail, which is close to the Sudwala Caves in the Nelspruit area of the lowveld.
With an elevation gain of 2 100m, the course consists of about 90% single track through indigenous forest in the lower sections, and mountain grasslands and technical rocky sections in the higher sections. The remaining 10% (roughly 4km) is along forestry jeep track.
The highest point on the course is at the 22.8km mark, and hits 2 024m.
Being the fifth race of this year’s six-event Skyrunner® Series, many of the top contenders in the points standings will be vying for podium places. Names to watch will be 2015 Skyrunner® Series champion and Uitsoek Skymarathon® record holder Lucky Miya (100 points), current leader in the Series Stewart Chaperon (136 points), Skyrun 2015 winner Bruce Arnett, and Ruan van der Merwe (currently in 4th position in the Series with 108 points). The lead pack might be kept on their toes by another name to watch, dark horse entry Werner Bosman.
The women’s race will be just as hotly contested, with current Series leader Marzelle van der Merwe (234 points), Wolkberg SkyMarathon® 2016 winner Holly Page (100 points), and Lorraine Boshoff (134 points).
Weather conditions for Saturday’s race are predicted to be partly cloudy with the possibility of rain during the afternoon. Runners will be required to carry a waterproof jacket, together with their other compulsory gear.
Race director Sven Musica says one of the great things about skyrunning in South Africa now being in its fifth year, trail runners are becoming more experienced with what to expect from skyrunning and the technical challenges, thrills and exhilarations each race brings.
“The Skyrunner® Series has some of the most incredible events of the trail running calendar, and are evenly spaced throughout the year. We’re extremely proud to be a part of skyrunning in South Africa, and we can’t wait for race day,” says Musica.
South Africa’s current long distance champion Johardt can Heerden will be out on the course for the duration of the race handling social media.
Follow the event via @terramotion, @johardtvheerden or #uitsoeksky