Surrounded by the Maluti Mountains, in the heart of the Ts’ehlanyane National Park gathered the brave pack of Lesotho Ultra 2019 participants. The seventh edition of this event saw clear blue summer skies welcome those who dared to traverse the shepherd’s paths where the mountains meet the sky.
A steady stream of participants and spectators arrived at Maliba Lodge for a weekend of disconnect and mountain escape. The question on everyone’s mind – what would the next day bring? Some familiar faces returning to the call knew what to expect, but the raw beauty of the Maluti Range can never be predicted. Each year the conditions have varied with snow, mist, rain, strong winds or dazzling sunshine – and sometimes all of these!
But as the sun rose and runners headed into the mountains, everyone knew that it was going to a day to remember. In his fourth running of Lesotho Ultra, Quintin Honey was in the lead pack from the start and after finishing 3rd on all previous occasions and what a finish it was! This year was his year to shine as everything came together for him and he breezed through the finish line 54 minutes ahead of the second man. Marzelle van der Merwe wore the look of a winner on her face, as she stormed the finish line, taking top spot in the women’s 50km field.
Truly a natural talent, Sello Morabaraba’s smile was contagious throughout the Lesotho Ultra weekend!
Local runner Sello Morabaraba led the 38km race from the get-go, blazing through the trails and crossing the finish with biggest smile on his face. An incredible first mountain trail race for this natural talent! Sharing the challenge together were Franci Myburgh and Driekie Black, running most of the race together and crossing the line only a minute apart!
The sense of community, support, the words of encouragement rang out from the deck of Maliba Lodge all day, and spectators and participants cheered their fellow mountain warriors home.
Over the years Lesotho Ultra has evolved from an elite mountain race to a true trail experience. Whether you come through as a participant or spectator, you are bound to be changed in some way. It’s a spiritual experience moving through those mountains, standing atop and knowing that what you worked for has materialised.
Breath-taking views across the trails at Lesotho Ultra – the Maluti Range is a natural treasure
As a spectator, as a friend or a family member it’s an inspirational experience. Regardless of who is crossing the finish, you cannot hep but get on your feet, clap your hands and scream words of motivation as runners stream in.
As the curtain fell on Lesotho Ultra 2019, there is one thing we have all learned – these Lesotho warriors are never not brave!
50km Ultra Marathon
- Quinton Honey 5:35:23
- Tseliso Makosha 6:29:09
- Chris Biley 6:40:51
- Marzelle van der Merwe 7:16:49
- Jo Keppler 7:40:25
- Emily Allan 8:50:19
38km Mountain Marathon
- Sello Morabaraba 4:00:28
- Mpaki Teke 4:55:10
- Alex Ham 5:32:30
- Franci Myburgh 6:28:15
- Driekie Black 6:29:17
- Joan van Wyngaard 7:28:15
Photograph credits: Phonix Capture