WHAT has to be one of the most beautiful settings of any ultra-marathon this country has to offer, can be seen right here on the Wild Coast.
With the rise in popularity of extreme endurance sports, the Wild Coast Ultra over 270km which started yesterday is set to become one of the most popular extreme marathons on the running calendar. East London is growing in popularity with all forms of sports and is home to many extreme athletes.
Among them are Kate and Bill Godfrey (of Atlantic Rowing and the Trans 555km Sahara Run), Donovan Sims (multi-day adventure racer), John Woods (PE to East London surf-ski hero) and the list goes on.
The Wild Coast Ultra-marathon starts at beautiful Cremorne Estate on the eastern bank of the Mzimvubu River, winds its way through to Port St Johns, Ben Dekker’s Second Beach and Silaka Nature Reserve.
Once the runners are out of town, they get swallowed up by the lush subtropical coastal bush of the Wild Coast. Each day presents the runner with extreme challenges, including steep hills, coastal forest, mangrove swamps, soft sandy beaches and 27 (some shark-infested) rivers.
Imagine the beauty as they run through Hluleka and Dwesa Nature Reserves with rhino, eland, springbok, impala, wildebeest and zebra in the background. Then there is the magnificent Hole-in-the-Wall, Brazen Head and Mngazana Estuary and on the longest day, runners are faced with the challenging hills of Morgan’s Bay and Double Mouth.
On the final day the runners leave Haga-Haga, run 33km to Yellow Sands where they join up with the massively popular Discovery Surfers Challenge, for the final sprint to the finish at East London’s Nahoon Beach.
The Daily Dispatch will be keeping readers informed about race progress and how our local athletes are performing.
Day 1: Leave Cremorne Estate at 5.30am to start 6am at Silaka Nature Reserve to Anchorage Hotel, 55km.
Day 2 (today): Start 6am at Anchorage Hotel to the Haven, 54km.
Day 3 (tomorrow): Start 6am at the Haven to Mazeppa Bay, 44km.
Day 4 (Thurs): Start 6am at Mazeppa Bay to Trennery’s, 36km.
Day 5 (Fri): Start 5am at Trennery’s to Haga-Haga, 30km.
Day 6 (Sat): Start 6am at Haga-Haga to Yellow Sands, 33km.
Start of “Surfers Challenge” at Yellow Sands 2pm to Nahoon Beach, 18km (cut off 2hrs, 30min).