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Coming up – extreme 100-mile marathon across local trails

Frieda Paton

Described as Sabie’s wildest ultra, the Mac-mac Ultra 100 will take place across the mountains and valleys, through forests and along the rivers, between Pilgrim’s Rest, Graskop and Sabie from May 24-26.

Competitors in this tough trail running experience had to meet strict criteria to enter in one of three races. While most are South Africans there are also competitors from the UK, France, The Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the US.

The Mac-mac Ultra 100 is a 100 mile (161Km) race with an ascent of 7500m. The 36 qualifying entrants will start at The Vine Restaurant in Pilgrim’s Rest at 12:00 on 24 May.  They have 46 hours to reach the finishing line at Merry Pebbles in Sabie by 10:00 on 26 May.

The challenging terrain which the runners will cover includes parts of the Prospectors and Fanie Botha trails. They’ll pass by many of the attractions in the area including historical landmarks, a number of the waterfalls and the Mac Mac Pools.

The 50 Miler (80Km) with an ascent of 4 650m has 31 entrants. They will start at Graskop Hut at 05:00 on 25 May and have to reach Merry Pebbles within 22 hours by 03:00 on 26 May.

The final category is a one-day 46Km trail run, with an ascent of 2510m, on 25 May. The 119 entrants will start at Merry Pebbles at 07:00 and runners have 12 hours to get back there by 19:00.

Each of the routes has various stages which must be completed within set cut-off times. Aid stations are provided along the route and there are a number of set spectator points.

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