Thule 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge – South Africa

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The 11th THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge in Association with SALOMON takes place on the weekend of the 23rd / 25th August 2013. The 24km mountain run is through the beautiful and challenging Witteberg mountain range near Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State.  Last year saw the introduction of the ‘Pyramid Challenge’ where athletes have the chance to take on the ‘beast’ 40 % gradient vertical ascent  and descent of the first pyramid at Moolmashoek Nature Reserve. The THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge provides a weekend festival of Free State hospitality and an introduction to ‘mountain-running’ where both the accomplished trail runners and weekend warriors get to challenge themselves.  The hospitality is rooted in the management of the Moolmanshoek Guest Lodge and the beautiful private nature reserve serves as HQ for the weekend activities.

Moolmanshoek Private Nature Reserve is situated 360km from Johannesburg and 230km from Bloemfontein and the unique scenery with mountain peaks such as Visierskerf, the highest in the Witteberg mountain range, provides a perfect venue to run, to explore and to challenge yourself against the elements. The 24km mountain run is a great introduction to the ultimate running challenge – mountain -running, with the 24km distance being the equivalent of a road ultra-marathon.   The THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge is an un-supported off road run, the concept derived from British ‘fell running’ whereby runners will conquer slopes to then enjoy superb vistas that the Witteberg mountain range ridgelines provide.  The course is not marked but follows a circular route starting at 1460m, with a total vertical ascent over the race of 1420m to the highest point at 2312m.  The concept of mountain running is one of expedition and adventure, where crossing the finish line is about conquering the elements, navigating your way through the rough terrain the course provides and feeling a sense of achivement not matched by any traditional running event. Participants must be totally self sustainable carrying their own fluids and nutrition for the entire race.  The top competitors usually complete the race in 3 hours or less with some runners taking up to 9 hours, the cut off, to receive the revered Four Peaks medal.

The weekend see’s the main event, the THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge kicking off at 6am on Saturday the 24th.  Entries received already include Salomon runners such as Thabang Madiba, Ryno Griesel, Jock Green and Matt Kretzmann against the local knowledge of multiple winner Isaac Mazibuko . In the ladies race we expect to see Salomon’s Jackie Moore racing with Takalani Ndandani and Megan Mackensie. This front pack of runners will be followed by the weekend warriors challenging themselves to the next level of running – building some bravery for ‘the ultimate’ the Salomon Skyrun hosted in November each year. After Saturday’s nights festivities, we kick off  Sunday morning with the Red Bull Pyramid Challenge which will see runners tackle a net altitude gain of 850m over 3km ascent and descent of the first pyramid.

More details from: HERE

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