Runtheberg Challenge 32km / 1140m
Day 1: 17km of beautiful mountain running. (Net Vertical Ascent 780m)
Day 1 starts at The Cavern (1481m) and finishes at All Out Adventures
The Challenge runners follow the Extremists out through the Fern Forest, but breath a big sigh of relief as their trails continues along the contour to May’s Falls, rather than climbing steeply up to Hlolela. The track is at its most technical here as it follows the bridle path below the sandstone cliffs around to The Cavern’s Top Dams and the highest point of the day’s route. It then descends to join up with the Grotto Hiking trail which goes along the top of Surprise Ridge. Just beyond the half-way point the trail merges with the Extreme Route as if follows the MTB trail before runners are taken south along the cliff line of Trilby Hill, staying high on the undulating but fast-running single track with spectacular views of the Amphitheatre above and the Montusi Valley below. The last few km cross a flat high plateau with spectacular bird’s-eye views and some unforgettable cliff-line trail before a fast mountainside switchback singletrack down into the Race Village and home!
Day 2: 15km more of awesome Drakensberg trail running (Net Vertical Ascent 360m)
Day 2 starts and finishes at All Out Adventures
The route leaves the Adventure Centre and follows the Quad Trail for a while and then meanders down the switchbacks of Dassie Pass to Puteril’s Stream where the first river crossing of the day takes place. After some boulder hopping and possibly some wet feet, the trail follows the river for some fast scenic running before climbing out of the valley and into a long cliff-top section that backtracks high above the river. The route follows a fairly flat line at the top of the cliff before dropping down to cross the top of the Waterfall (don’t overtake on the right!!) and climbs up a rocky hill to the view point below Montusi Mountain Lodge. The trail then winds below the Montusi horse paddocks before taking runners through Fergie’s Forest and a gentle climb to the first Checkpoint and Water Table at the Montusi Dam. Challenge runners will then turn right towards the resort, straight past the runway and towards the Wanhoop Valley (literally the Valley of Despair, which it can be on a hot day) before veering right towards the aptly named and unmissable Lone Tree, re-joining the Extreme runners for the last few km towards the Finish. There is a nice stretch of flowing running before a fairly steep descent from the escarpment back down into the Montusi Gorge before the final river crossing and climb up the rocky face of Owl’s Pass and back towards home, with just one last forest loop around the Race Village to get through before emerging out of the trees to the welcome sight of the Finish line.