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Mnweni Marathon

05 September 2020

Race Information

Please note that this event will be following a “No Frills” format. This means that:

  • The 40km trail will be unmarked.
  • There will be no aid stations.
  • No spectators will be allowed.
  • A full COVID protocol will be implemented.
  • Batches for the race will start at 5h30am.
  • There will be no race garments or prize money available for this event.

KZNTR Safety and Medical will be available for the event.

Start time: 6:00 am

Elevation gain: 1971 m

Water Tables: 3 tables en route.

Entry limit: 250 Participants

The 40km Marathon is the flagship of the event. This is a proper mountain adventure suitable ONLY for the experienced trail runner and/or hiker. The course is run in a westward direction from the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre along the Mnweni Valley, up Mnweni Pass, down Rockeries Pass, through the Ntnonjelana Valley and back to the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre on a 5km dirt road. 

Aid stations will be provided approximately every 7km, which could potentially take 2-3 hours in some sections of the route. Aid stations contain basic food and hydration. You are encouraged to carry your own race favourites.

All participants must attend the compulsory race briefing at 7:00pm on Friday, 1 May 2020. 

Start time: 7:00 am

Elevation gain: 711 m

Water tables: 2 tables en route.

Entry limit: 150 Participants

*Please note that course routes are subject to change.

Start time: 8:00 am

Elevation gain: 283 m

Water tables: 1 table en route.

*Please note that course routes are subject to change.

Start time: 8:00 am

Elevation gain: 127 m

Water tables: 1 table en route.

*Please note that course routes are subject to change.

The runner must carry the following compulsory equipment with them for the duration of the race. The BASIC list should be seen as the absolute minimum equipment deemed necessary to successfully complete the course. Additional compulsory equipment may be required depending on the race day weather conditions. 

The runner must be responsible to take any and all equipment they may require for the event based on their trail running experience and the weather conditions. 

  • BASIC: 
    • Cell phone (fully charged)
    • 1-litre water carrying capacity
    • Waterproof jacket with hood
    • Whistle
    • Strapping (100x5cm minimum)
    • Emergency blanket
    • Food reserve (200 calories)
  • COLD WEATHER (additional to BASIC): 
    • A long-sleeve thermal base layer
    • Tights or waterproof pants or thermals
    • Waterproof gloves
    • Beanie or neck-scarF
  • HOT WEATHER (additional to BASIC): 
    • 1.5-litre water carrying capacity
  • Recommended equipment:
    • Hydration vest
    • Personal cup
    • Peak cap
    • Sunglasses
    • Arm sleeves
    • Spare warm clothing
    • GPS watch
    • Headlamp (with spare batteries)
    • Anti-chafe cream
    • Sun cream
    • More substantial first aid kit
    • Race food

Entries have Closed

*To view our T’s & C’s, refund and substitutions policies and FAQ, please click HERE.

HIGH ALTITUDE

A great family getaway

Mnweni, ‘the place of fingers’, is located between the Royal Natal National Park and the Cathedral range in the heart of the Drakensberg escarpment. In years past, this stretch of the Drakensberg was affectionately seen by hardy mountaineers as “remote and treacherous” as the paths are “long and steep”. The terrain is mountainous and the weather unpredictable. 

The event will start at the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre, which is located approximately 30km from Bergville, KZN.

The main event is the 40km Marathon – a proper mountain adventure suitable ONLY for the experienced trail runner and/or hiker. The route shows off the architectural marvels of Mnweni: the great buttresses, basalt colonnades, and masonry gargoyles and spires!  There are 3 shorter distances of 20km, 10km and 6km making a great weekend of running for all levels of runners and walkers. Other activities from the venue include mountain biking, horse riding, and fly fishing.

Mnweni Marathon was started in 2001 by Bruce Arnett as a social run between friends within the niche Gauteng trail running community. The race grew steadily in popularity and prestige over the last 19 years. KZNTR is proud to host the event in 2020 and excited to have it included in the Mountain Marathon Series! 

The ethos of the Mnweni Marathon has always been about pure, no-frills inexpensive and wild mountain adventure. KZNTR will honour this ethos through the Spring Mnweni Marathon event in September, where the entry fee will be nominal, the route will remain unmarked and copious amounts of mountain adventure experiences will be on offer! Mnweni Marathon September is a place where you can go back to a time when things were wilder and lonelier. 

The Mnweni area is an extremely remote race. Experienced mountain medics will be on the route, but mountain experience is highly recommended in this rugged countryside. The compulsory gear listed should be considered a minimum list of equipment – we encourage you to add to it based on your experience.  

Registration

Race registration will take place at the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre from 4:00pm to 9:00pm on Friday, 4 September 2020, and from 5:00am to 8:00am on Saturday, 5 September 2020. 

All participants must attend the compulsory race briefing at 7:00pm on Friday, 4 September 2020. 

Accommodation Information

Accommodation at the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre can be booked on this site but is done separately to entering the race. Accommodation options include rondavels, dorms and a camping option.

The Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre is a run as a community project. The venue has a communal kitchen fitted with gas cooker, stove and oven, fridge, and washbasin – own utensils are required. There are also separate ablution facilities for men and women with proper hot showers. 

Other guesthouses and B&Bs are available further afield – click HERE for a list accommodation options.

Substitutions

Please note that substitutions are applicable to an administration fee of R50 (6km and 10 km) or R100 (20km and 40km) per substitute. Substitutions will close a week before the event commences. For a substitution to be made, both parties must contact KZNTR on info@kzntrailrunning.co.za. Transfers of original entries to substitutes will only be made once the substitution fee has been paid.

Directions

Venue: Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre, Bergville

From Durban (ETA 3 h 15 min):

  • Travel northbound on the N3.
  • Take exit 194 and turn left onto R74.
  • Continue straight for ~43km and turn left onto Kingsway Road (R616) in Bergville.
  • Continue straight for ~15km and turn left onto a dirt road (before the Banana Bridge). 
  • After 2.3km turn right and follow the road for 29km until you reach the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre

From Johannesburg (ETA 4 h 15 min):

  • Travel southbound on the N3.
  • Take exit 103 and turn right onto the N5 toward Harrismith/Bethlehem.
  • Follow N5 for appr. 4.8km and turn left onto R74.
  • Continue on the R74 for 8.6km and turn left to stay on the R74 (signposted Bergville).
  • Continue straight on the R74 for 64.4km and turn right onto Kingsway Road (R616) in Bergville.
  • Continue straight for ~15km and turn left onto a dirt road (before the Banana Bridge). 
  • After 2.3km turn right and follow the road for 29km until you reach the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre
Click Here for a Google Maps Link.

In Association With

All the gear you’ll need for your next trail expedition. Available online from Trail Shed.