SA’s Foremost Ultra-Marathon Swells Conservation Coffers
First Lady Places Third Overall In Full Field, Ideal Conditions
The seventeenth annual running of South Africa’s foremost ultra-marathon, the Mont-aux-Sources Challenge, took place in ideal conditions at Royal Natal National Park in the northern Drakensberg on September 12, 2009. Bennie Badenhorst of Hartebeespoort Marathon Club emerged as the victor in a time of 05hrs 37min 57sec. Filippo Faralla from Savages Athletic Club in Durban placed second in a time of 05hrs 37min 11sec while the first lady, Kerry Koen of Collegians Harriers in Pietermaritzburg, managed a very impressive third overall in a time of 05hrs 40min 39sec.
The race is organised through the Wild Series a partnership between the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Wildlands CEO, Andrew Venter, said that the 2009 event was possibly one of the most successful in its history. “We had a full field of runners, and once again managed to raise several hundred thousand Rand towards conservation, adding to the more than R3 million that the race has raised in its history.”
While the Challenge is certainly not South Africa’s longest run, it is possibly its toughest, with runners having to climb, and then descend, some 1500m during the 50km course. Venter said the race is also arguably South Africa’s most picturesque, set in the backdrop of the spectacular Drakensberg Amphitheatre, part of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.
According to Race Chairman Eduard Goosen of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the race’s success was due, once again, to main sponsors Bonitas Medical Aid and Powerade, a large contingent of volunteers and an enthusiastic field of athletes. “The race doesn’t offer the richest purse, but year after year we experience demand from a higher number of runners than we can accommodate in an environmentally protected area.” Interested parties can email email@example.com for entry details.