Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg 160 (UTD160) is 164km in length and starts in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho where it traverses 73km of high altitude terrain before joining into the UTD100 course at the top of Sani Pass.
The race will start at Sani Mountain Lodge (The Highest Pub in Africa), at 10h00 on Friday 22nd April, and head into Lesotho on a circuitous route that is almost entirely above 3000m (9842ft) in altitude. A number of high points will be passed with the highlight of these being Thabana Ntlenyana at 3482m (11424ft). Thabana Ntlenyana is the highest peak in Southern Africa and the highest point south of Kilimanjaro on the African continent. Tagging it will be a significant milestone for many of the runners.
After 73km the runners will return to the Lesotho Border Post at the top of Sani Pass. After entering South Africa, they then plunge down the first 6km of the Sani Pass and into the trail which traverses the Twelve Apostles for 6km. What follows, is a long and fast 19km descent down the Khanti Ridge to the checkpoint at the waterfall below Premier Resort Sani Pass at 100km. Here the runners will have the option of picking up their pacers.
From the waterfall it’s the short sharp climb up the Stromness before the runners turn inland into some of South Africa’s most beautiful farming country. For the next 28km there is a wide variety of terrain including forests, fast flat trail, rolling hills and lakeside running. At 130km there is the final cut-off at the Old Duck where runners can swap pacers and enjoy the relative civilisation of the Old Duck and its facilities. It’s then a fast and flat section along the Mzimkulu river with some gradual climbs before the tar crossing at the Goschen entrance. Here runners must say goodbye to their pacers and prepare for the final 25km which takes them back into the heart of the mountains.
The last 25km re-connects with the Giant’s Cup trail, deep in the World Heritage Site, and passes through Mzimkulwana Hut and Cobham which will feature the last two Aid Stations. The final descent is down the spectacular Gxalingenwa Gorge before emerging onto the Sani Pass Hotel golf course and the last few hundred meters into the Finish.