How tough is tough?
There are many of you out there who are intrigued by the Lesotho Wildrun but may be put off by the perception of how tough it is. I will not for a minute tell you it isn’t tough, but I will tell you that, with the right approach, the Lesotho Wildrun is completely do-able by anyone who can comfortably spend a day hiking in the mountains, or trail running 6-8hours at an easy pace.
Less technical than most
The terrain is far far easier than the likes of Skyrun for example, with 100% of the trail running being on completely run-able trails (Skyrun by example has roughly only 11% on actual trails/tracks). Click the following link for images of day 1 trail http://wildrunner.ning.com/photo/lesotho-wildrun-2012-the-new-day-1-1?context=latest
Only 23% of the total mileage is over ‘technical’ rocky terrain, and almost 60% of this is on day 3 on your way home, once most of the hard work is done! By comparison, the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge has very technical running for over 60% of its length. In Table Mountain Challenge, 40% is technical.
Compared to Wildcoast Wildrun?
There is no doubt this is harder than the Wildcoast Wildrun, but with a bit more training the mountains of Lesotho are easily with your grasp. Lots of hiking will do the trick, as this is what a lot of you will be doing on day 1. Like the Wildcoast, it’s about grinding out the miles, about keeping the momentum going forward and pretty soon the days are done.
- 120km over 3 days in the mountains IS going to be tough anywhere you do it, and the reality is you WILL spend longer over this distance because of the debilitating effect of altitude. On the plus side (and like all the Wildrun’s) the scenery is spectacular and spending more time out there is never a bad thing!
- The terrain is largely speaking non-technical running. You are running on trails cut by cattle, horses and feet, thus the route is for the most part smooth, open (and efficient) trails. There is technical running on the steep up and down sections and especially when crossing rock bands. Technical running probably amounts to 10% on day 1, 20% on day 2 and 40% on day 3. Click the following link for images of day 1 http://wildrunner.ning.com/photo/lesotho-wildrun-2012-the-new-day-1-1?context=latest
- You are in remote mountains inaccessible by vehicle, but unlike South Africa these trails are used by the local Basotho villages as their main thoroughfare to and from the market and shops. Along most of the route, there are herd boys who are always willing to help with directions or rustling up a horse if need be. Should you need help, you are never more than 6-8km from a village, where you will always be able to at least get shelter and assistance. We have support ‘agents’ in every village tasked with the job of keeping an eye on runners.
- Your longest & toughest day is day 1 as you climb to Semonkong. This is followed by a short day allowing for maximum recovery time, and allowing you to enjoy the spectacular day 2 (earmarked by many 2011 runners as one of the most spectacular trail runs ever done). Day 3 is descending back into the valley.
- Navigation is very easy and with a combined effect of GPS waypoints, detailed map and easy to follow trails and instructions, there is nothing to be wary or afraid of. Don’t forget that other runners are around you, and usually within sight.
Here are some very good reasons to do the Lesotho Wildrun in 2012:
- There is NOTHING out there like the experience of running in the mountains of Lesotho. Unreserved wilderness with such a network of well worn trails like this does not exist in South Africa, and the impact of running in a place like this cannot fully be described.
- Day 1 has been revised. The original was a bit too tough, and although this new day 1 has the same distance, the total amount of climb is 300m less AND the trails are massively more defined, making it all run-able (bar the climbs of course). This has also resulted in three unique days, with three equally unique stop-overs.
- 100% of it is on tracks & trails, and although there is a basic navigational element, we have reduced this to the bare simplicity with regular waypoints. Thus your speed over ground is improved with less time trying to define trails, and make navigational decisions.
- You get to run past the highest single drop waterfall in Africa, the Maletsunyane Falls (197m), but also the spectacular 122m Ketane Falls deep in the mountains on the new day 1.
- You will see and run parts of Lesotho that few ‘tourists’ ever get to see, along three distinctly unique legs, each with their own breathtaking scenery and warm friendly people.
- Comfortable overnight accommodations each with their own unique character, not the usual uncomfortable night sleep in tents etc. This of course makes a huge difference to your recovery and cannot be underestimated.
The rewards from experiencing the Lesotho Wildrun are immense. I can guarantee you will remember this as being one of the best things you ever did. Anyone who has done the Wildcoast Wildrun will testify to the huge personal growth of doing something that may be tough during the journey but the emotional reward and the sense of really living far exceed the pain. In the words of the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
If anyone wants to talk to me personally about Lesotho, feel free to either call the office 021 821 9898 or my mobile 084 221 8422. I will with pleasure talk you through any concerns or questions you might have.
There are still 20 entries available at this stage.