MUT becomes first African trail race to join UTMB World Series elevating South-African trail running to an International stage

The Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB® is set to welcome trail runners from across the globe to the Southern Cape of South Africa 26 – 28 May 2023. It is currently the only UTMB® World Series Finals qualifying event on the African continent and forms part of a 30 event UTMB® World Series calendar for next year.

 

For the first time ever, the UTMB® World Series will head to Africa in 2023, with the confirmation that Mountain Ultra-Trail (MUT) by UTMB will join the circuit. Staged in the Outeniqua Mountains, which tower over the Garden Route city of George, the event will be celebrating its fifth edition next year. In addition to joining the UTMB® World Series it will also be adding a 100-Miler distance to its race options, which already include 100-, 60-, 42-, 25- and 10-kilometre trail runs.

1. For the first time ever, the UTMB® World Series will head to Africa in 2023, with the confirmation that Mountain Ultra-Trail (MUT) by UTMB will join the global circuit next year

 

In 2023 the global UTMB® World Series will boast 30 events, across Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Asia with the MUT by UTMB representing the sole African event on the calendar. As such it provides South Africans with a superb local opportunity to qualify for the UTMB® World Series Finals, which take place in Ultra-Trail 28 August to 3 September.

 

As a UTMB World Series Event, Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB provides trail runners with opportunities to access the UTMB World Series Final, the OCC, CCC or UTMB, in Mont-Blanc, France. The top three finishers, in the men’s and women’s categories, in the 100-kilometre and 100-Miler will earn a place at the OCC and CCC respectively. All finishers of MUT by UTMB will be awarded Running Stones which can be used to enter the lottery for the Finals in 2023. There are four stones on offer to those who complete the 100-Miler; three on offer for the 100-kilometre finishers; two for both the 60-kilometre ultra and the 42-kilometre MUT Marathon; and one for the 25-kilometre MUT Challenge.

 

“We are excited to be joining the biggest World Series in trail running and to be the first event on the African continent to form part of the UTMB World Series,” race director and founder, Zane Schmahl said. “It is a dream come true for our event and we are hard at work for the MUT by UTMB to live up to the expectations of a premiere event.”

 

“The George trail running community has been instrumental in building the event to the point where it is today,” Schmahl continued. “It is testimony to their passion that the race has been elevated to the UTMB World Series level. While it is becoming a truly international event, the MUT by UTMB will always retain its South African soul, providing small town hospitality and uniquely local touches to all aspects of the races. We will also continue to work towards attracting the country’s top trail runners and providing them with the platform from which to launch their international seasons. Which is part of the reason for a shift to an earlier date on the calendar, in order to ensure that South African runners can take part in MUT by UTMB before heading over to Europe for the busy June/July period before the UTMB World Series Final in late August.”

4. The Outeniqua Mountains have proven, since 2018, to be the perfect location for creating challenging but beautiful routes of various distances for the Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB. Photo by Zane Schmahl.

 

Entries to the 2023 edition open on 16 November 2022. Would-be 100-Miler entrants will be excited to note that the route for the 160-kilometre distance has already been plotted. It will feature 7 500 metres of climbing, nine aid stations and a 48 hour cut-off. The expected average time for the new distance is predicted to be around 36 hours. In order to ensure that most finishers reach the Witfontein Forest Station race village amongst the bustle of the 100-kilometre race finishers the newly added longest distance will start at 14:00 on Friday, 26 May.

 

For more information on the event, and to secure an entry from the 16th of November onwards, visit www.georgemut.run. Insights into the race distances and the terrain they cover as well as inspiration to enter can be found on the event’s social media handles, @georgemountainultratrail on Instagram and George Mountain Ultra-Trail on Facebook.

 

UTMB World Series 2023 confirmed events as of 10 November 2022:

  1. Tarawera™ Ultramarathon by UTMB® (New Zealand), 11-12 February
  2. Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB (Thailand), 17-19 February
  3. Istria 100 by UTMB® (Croatia), 13-16 April
  4. Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB® (USA), 28-29 April
  5. Transvulcania by UTMB® (Spain), 4-6 May
  6. Ultra-Trail Australia™ by UTMB® (Australia), 11-14 May
  7. Ultra-Trail Snowdonia by UTMB® (Wales), 12-14 May
  8. Valhöll Argentina by UTMB® (Argentina), 12-14 May
  9. Trail Alsace Grand Est by UTMB® (France), 18-21 May
  10. Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB® (South Africa), 27 May
  11. Trail du Saint-Jacques by UTMB® (France), 3-4 June
  12. mozart 100™ by UTMB® (Austria), 17-18 June
  13. La Sportiva®Lavaredo Ultra-Trail® by UTMB® (Italy), 22-25 June
  14. Trail 100 Andorra™ by UTMB® (Andorra), 24-25 June
  15. Western States® 100-Mile Endurance Run (USA), 24-25 June
  16. Val d’Aran by UTMB® (Spain), 6-9 July
  17. Restonica Trail by UTMB® (France), 6-8 July
  18. Trail Verbier Saint-Bernard by UTMB® (Switzerland), 7-9 July
  19. Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB® (Switzerland), 12-16 July
  20. Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB® (USA), 21-22 July
  21. UTMB® World Series Finals; UTMB® Mont-Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland), 28 August – 3 September
  22. Wildstrubel by UTMB® (Switzerland), 15-17 September
  23. Paraty Brazil by UTMB® (Brazil), 22-24 September
  24. Julian Alps Trail Run by UTMB® (Slovenia), September
  25. Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB® (France), 28 September – 1October
  26. Puerto Vallarta México by UTMB® (Mexico), October
  27. Kullamannen by UTMB® (Sweden), 3 – 4 November
  28. TransLantau™ by UTMB® (Hong Kong), November
  29. Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB® (Thailand), 9-11 December
  30. Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB® (Australia), December

For the full calendar visit www.utmb.world

 

UTMB World Series set to break new ground in Africa with 2023 Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB

Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB to welcome runners to the Western Cape of South Africa on 26 – 28 May 2023 

– Entries open on 16 November 2022 at https://georgemut.run/ 

 

10 November 2022 – For the first time ever, the UTMB® World Series will head to Africa in 2023, with the confirmation that Mountain Ultra-Trail (MUT) by UTMB in the Western Cape of South Africa will join the circuit.  

 

There are now 30 events across Africa, Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Asia confirmed for the 2023 UTMB World Series, with further event announcements to come in the following weeks, as the organizers UTMB Group and The IRONMAN Group look to expand the offering to runners from all over the world and support their quest to the UTMB World Series Finals.  

 

At the heart of the Garden Route National Park is the city of George and a 200km stretch along the southern coast of South Africa, providing the perfect backdrop for the MUT by UTMB, with true wild mountains that boast some of the country’s best trails right on the urban edge.  

 

Considered a mountain trail paradise, runners at MUT by UTMB will have the chance to traverse the Outeniqua Mountain Range which towers high above the garden city of George. The race will take place on 26 – 28 May 2023, and entries will open here on 16th November 2022.  

 

For the first time the event will host a 100-mile race, alongside the established MUT 100km which has 4,500m+ of elevation gain, and the MUT 60km (3,054m+) – both of which offer runners everything from big climbs, rocky trails, technical downhills, and spectacular views of the Outeniqua Mountain Range to keep the endorphins going and distract from the burn in the legs.  

The MUT Marathon 42km offers many of the highlights of the longer distances without some of the bigger climbs, however runners can still expect this course to be a challenge, and straight from the start runners will take on the biggest climb of the route, the Cradock Pass.  

 

The MUT Challenge 25km (910m+) and the MUT Lite 10km (475m+) are all also once again on the menu giving runners of all abilities the chance to take part in the fifth edition of the event, one of the country’s fastest growing races. 

 

Race Director Zane Schmahl said: “We are excited to be joining the biggest series in trail running and to be the first event on the African continent to form part of the UTMB World Series. It is a dream come true for our event and we are hard at work for the MUT by UTMB to live up to the expectations of one of the most premiere events in the world.” 

 

In 2022, 52 South African runners toed the startline of the UTMB Mont-Blanc, and now more runners will have the chance to qualify for the UTMB World Series Finals on their home turf. All finishers of races in the 100M, 100K, 50K and 20K categories at MUT by UTMB will be awarded Running Stones which can be used to enter the lottery for the Finals in 2023. Those who complete the MUT 100 Miler will be awarded 4; 3 are on offer for the MUT 100km; 2 for both the MUT 60km and the MUT Marathon 42km; and 1 for the MUT Challenge 25km. 

 

Runners can register for all distances from Wednesday 16th November on https://georgemut.run/ 

 

UTMB World Series 2023 confirmed events as of 10th November 2022: 

  • Tarawera™ Ultramarathon by UTMB® (New Zealand), 11-12 February   
  • Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB (Thailand), 17-19 February  
  • Istria 100 by UTMB® (Croatia), 13-16 April   
  • Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB® (USA), 28-29 April   
  • Transvulcania by UTMB® (Spain), 4-6 May  
  • Ultra-Trail Australia™ by UTMB® (Australia), 11-14 May  
  • Ultra-Trail Snowdonia by UTMB® (Wales), 12-14 May  
  • Valhöll Argentina by UTMB® (Argentina), 12-14 May  
  • Trail Alsace Grand Est by UTMB® (France), 18-21 May   
  • Mountain Ultra-Trail by UTMB® (South Africa), 27 May 
  • Trail du Saint-Jacques by UTMB® (France), 3-4 June   
  • mozart 100™ by UTMB® (Austria), 17-18 June   
  • La Sportiva®Lavaredo Ultra-Trail® by UTMB® (Italy), 22-25 June   
  • Trail 100 Andorra™ by UTMB® (Andorra), 24-25 June   
  • Western States® 100-Mile Endurance Run (USA), 24-25 June   
  • Val d’Aran by UTMB® (Spain), 6-9 July   
  • Restonica Trail by UTMB® (France), 6-8 July   
  • Trail Verbier Saint-Bernard by UTMB® (Switzerland), 7-9 July   
  • Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB® (Switzerland), 12-16 July   
  • Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB® (USA), 21-22 July    
  • UTMB® World Series Finals; UTMB® Mont-Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland), 28 August – 3 September 
  • Wildstrubel by UTMB® (Switzerland), 15-17 September  
  • Paraty Brazil by UTMB® (Brazil), 22-24 September  
  • Julian Alps Trail Run by UTMB® (Slovenia), September   
  • Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB® (France), 28 September - 1 October 
  • Kullamannen by UTMB® (Sweden), 3-4 November 
  • Puerto Vallarta México by UTMB® (Mexico), 3 – 5 November    
  • TransLantau™ by UTMB® (Hong Kong), November  
  • Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB® (Thailand), 9-11 December  
  • Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB® (Australia), December  

 

###   

 

 

MUT by UTMB® 

The Mountain Ultra Trail or MUT by UTMB is a festival of trail running in the garden city of George, on South Africa’s east coast. The Outeniqua Mountains rise from the urban edge and provide a spectacular adventure seeker’s playground, with hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails criss-crossing the peaks, which reach up to 1,578 meters above sea level, and verdant valleys. Fynbos, one of the world’s most biodiverse floral kingdoms, and old growth indigenous forests line the trails, while the high points along the MUT by UTMB route provide breath-taking views over the Indian Ocean to the south and across the arid Karoo to the north. Alongside the 100-mile, 100km, 65km, 42km, 25km and 10km race distances the event also boasts a Vertical Kilometer Challenge and a social run with the George Trail Running club, who are responsible for much of the trail building and maintenance on the MUT by UTMB route. For more information, visit www.georgemut.run. 

 

   

UTMB® World Series   

UTMB® World Series is the world’s ultimate trail-running circuit that unites the sport’s biggest stars and passionate runners through the best, leading international events in the most stunning locations.  Built on a passion for the mountains with sustainability at its heart, UTMB® World Series gives all trail runners the chance to experience the UTMB® adventure across the world, with events taking place across Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas. It is the only place where runners can begin their quest to UTMB® Mont-Blanc, France, where the prestigious UTMB® World Series Finals will be held. For more information, visit www.utmb.world.   

   

About UTMB Group    

Over the last 18 years, and since the creation of UTMB® Mont-Blanc in 2003 by a group of passionate friends, UTMB Group has been the driving force behind the development of trail running. The UTMB® Mont-Blanc is the sports pinnacle event, and every year, 10,000 runners earn their place on the start line. UTMB Group also pioneered the LiveTrail® technology, an innovative digital service that supports the management of endurance races. Revered by hundreds of thousands of athletes, UTMB® has become a global, premium, and leading brand. In May 2021, UTMB Group partnered with The IRONMAN Group to launch the UTMB® World Series, which brings together many of the best international events on the planet to provide exclusive access to the sport’s pinnacle event, UTMB® Mont-Blanc. The UTMB® World Series is built on the founding principles of UTMB® Mont-Blanc: surpassing oneself; fair-play; respect for people and the environment; and solidarity. Find out more at www.utmb.world.    

   

 About The IRONMAN Group     

The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and City2Surf®, UTMB® World Series events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, Epic Series™ mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Catering to the full athlete experience, the company portfolio also includes FulGaz® virtual cycling, the most realistic indoor riding experience connected fitness application aimed at preparing athletes for real-world events. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/about-ironman-group 

 

   

CONTACTS    

      

UTMB World Seriesinternationalmediaenquiries:    

presse@utmb.world  
Sabina Mollart Rogerson – International press Officer   

t: +44 7922 140148    

   

nicola.dawson@utmb.world   

Nicola Dawson, UTMB® World Series Media & PR Manager    

T: +44 (0) 7919051417   

    

The IRONMAN Group media enquiries:    

olivia.mcculla@ironman.com    

Olivia McCulla, Director, Communications (EMEA)    

 

press@ironman.com 

Dan Berglund, Vice President, Global Communications 

Getting Ready for the Discovery MUT

Month to go to MUT

Georbge Mountain Ultra Trail Event in George on the Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa, RSA

We are getting excited for the Discovery MUT 2022! We have our Title sponsor Discovery back on board and we have launched a 100km distance to our race portfolio! It is the 4th year of MUT and we are honoured as always to showcase the beautiful Outeniqua Mountain Range and our sublime running trails.

Entries for this year’s event will close on 31 May 2022 and we will only allow on the day entries for the MUT Lite 10km.

SCHEDULE
16 – 19 June 2022
Thursday – GTR Time Trial & VIMFF
Friday – MUT Registration
Saturday – MUT Race Day
Sunday – Prize Giving

LOCATION
Witfontein Forestry Station, Outeniqua Nature Reserve, George

EVENTS
MUT100 – R3500
MUT60 – R2350
MUT Marathon – R1250
MUT Challenge – R595
MUT Lite – R250

Join the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail!
Push your limits at the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail on 18 June 2022. From a 10 km fun run to a 100 km ultra-trail, there’s a trail run for everyone. Plus, get 50% back on your race entry fees with Team Vitality and earn 300 to 3,000 Vitality points.

HOW TO EARN VITALITY POINTS AND GET REWARDED

  • MUT Lite 10 km run – 600 points
  • MUT Challenge 25 km run – 1500 points
  • MUT Marathon 42 km run – 3000 points
  • MUT60 km run – 3000 points
  • MUT100 km run – 3000 points

We are now officially registered with ITRA and our MUT runners will now be able to score their ITRA points to qualify for international races that they might have their sights set on. Our website shows how many points you can score for the specific distance you are running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAPS
All our maps have been updated on our site with the GPX downloads for the routes as well.

MUT 100 Pacer
The MUT100 will have the option of adding a “Pacer” from Checkpoint 8 to run with you to the finish.

1. The Pacer Runner will be required to enter on our website via the normal process and select the option MUT100 Pacer.
2. Pacers will receive a official “Pacer” race number, a DiscoveryMUT Headscarf and will be able to make use of the Aid Stations as well.
3. Checkpoint 8 will serve as an official Seconding Point and the Start point of your Pace runner.
4. Seconding points for MUT100 will be at Cp4, Cp7 and Cp8. No seconding is possible at any other points.
5. Please familiarise yourself with the rules and guidelines of Pacers and Seconding Crew on our website.

SAY WHAT!
Mathew Mole is running the MUT? Matt is actually a keen runner for those that do not know and he has signed up to run the MUT along with Jako Loots, his road manager.
Matt and Jako will run for charity supporting LIV Village.

The LIV model is long term cluster foster care, where children have a sense of belonging in a supportive community.

They place orphaned and vulnerable children in a family environment where all their needs are met by taking a holistic approach to physical, emotional and spiritual healing.

MountCo has come on board to sort out these boys with some kit for their run, keep an eye out on our socials as to what gear Matt and Jako will use to take on the challenge!

Stay tuned for Matt’s tour schedule along the Garden Route post the MUT

Discovery Re-Establishes Support for George Mountain Ultra Trail

Kane Reilly, the reigning 60km champion, rates the Outeniqua Mountains as the perfect terrain for a 100km ultra. Photo by Jacques Marais.

From 2022, the George Mountain Ultra Trail will once again be known as the Discovery George MUT. And as in-person events make a much-awaited comeback, Discovery has re-established its support for the trail run and affiliated events in the Garden Route. The 2022 Discovery George MUT is scheduled to take place on the 18th of June.

 

“We’re excited to have Discovery back on board,” event director, Zane Schmahl, enthused. “We have some great things planned for the fourth edition of the event, including the launch of a 100 kilometre ultra-trail distance. Collaborating with Discovery elevates not only the runner experience but also the credibility to the race itself.”

 

“Supporting the return of in-person events like Discovery George MUT has reignited our drive to execute our purpose – to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives,” said Deon Curtis, Senior Marketing Manager – Sponsorships at Discovery South Africa. “We take pride in rewarding our members for lacing up and hitting the trails again and look forward to an exhilarating, safe and memorable event.”

 

Along with the new 100 kilometre race distance the Discovery George MUT will also introduce a 5 kilometre family fun run, as well as re-introduce the MUT Life Festival around the event. A celebration of all things trail running the MUT Life Festival will kick off on Wednesday, 15 June, with a screening of selected Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) movies. “We’re excited to bring back the VIMFF screening,” Schmahl stated. “In 2021 it wasn’t possible to host screenings due to the restrictions on the number of people who could gather indoors. But it’s such a great, relaxed, way to kick off the MUT Life Festival and get everyone in the mood for the long-weekend of trail running.”

 

The next day, is the Youth Day public holiday and as such is scheduled to host the MUT VK Challenge, from the Ground Zero Bike Park to the summit of George Peak. Later on, Thursday, visiting trail runners are invited to attend the George Trail Running club’s weekly time trial. “The George Trail Running community is fundamental to the success of the Discovery George MUT,” Schmahl noted. “It’s the passion they share for the mountains of George which is so infectious and lures visiting runners back for not only the race but also the George Six Peaks Challenge.”

 

Having staged three editions of the event with a flagship 60 kilometre distance the 2022 race will now boast an exceptionally challenging 100 kilometre route too. “Last year we added a 42 kilometre marathon distance and as trail running matures in South Africa we saw the possibility to introduce a 100K this year,” Schmahl said. “Anyone who has run our 60K knows how technical the running in the Outeniqua Mountains is. The new route will feature 4 500 metres of climbing and will be up there with the toughest 100 kilometre races globally. Yet it will still feature our signature hospitality and generous 24 hour cut-off to allow as many runners to complete the race as possible.”

The pre-dawn start and 24 hour cut-off makes the 100km distance achievable to a larger proportion of trail runners, while the ITRA Ranking points and prize purse make it an attractive prospect for elite athletes. Photo by Jacques Marais.

 

“I think that the addition of the 100 kilometre distance race to the Discovery George MUT is awesome!” 2021 Discovery MUT 60 champion, Kane Rielly smiled. “The Outeniqua mountains are an incredible place to run and I have no doubt the 100km route will be a cracker. I’ve experienced the 60km route, and have read up on the extra part that makes up the 100km, and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone. It’ll be a beastly route! But a seriously beautiful one.”

 

“I think that the Outeniqua Mountains are up there alongside anywhere in the world in terms of the quality of trails, and the mountain running experiences available,” Reilly continued. “The mountains are big and trails really well maintained, you are also very close to the sea. Something the French alps can’t boast. George also provides really easy access to the mountains, with its airport making it readily accessible from anywhere in the country. The town itself is simply a superb trail running destination.”

 

This year will once again see some of South Africa’s top trail runners taking part in the Discovery George MUT. “In addition to the strong South African field we hoping to attract an increasing number of international competitors in the coming years,” Schmahl confirmed. “We have applied for International Trail Running Association accreditation so that entrants to the Discovery George MUT can earn points towards their ITRA rankings. Hopefully this, in addition to the increased prize purse, the general quality of the event and the return to hassle-free travel will allow the race to gain a strong international following too.”

The Discovery George MUT will showcase the best trails of the Outeniqua Mountains and the hospitality of the Garden Route. Photo by Jacques Marais.

 

The race will be added to the Vitality Race Calendar and points for the trail run will be awarded to Vitality members as follows:

 

  • 10km – 600 points
  • 25km – 1500 points
  • 42km – 3000 points
  • 60km – 3000 points
  • 100km – 3000 points

 

 

For more information on the Discovery George MUT, or for online entries, visit www.georgemut.run.

Blessed with exceptional diversity the Discovery George MUT routes take in high peaks, beautiful ridgelines and deep indigenous forests. Photo by Jacques Marais.

 

Photo Captions and Credits

  1. The Discovery George MUT will showcase the best trails of the Outeniqua Mountains and the hospitality of the Garden Route. Photo by Jacques Marais.
  2. Blessed with exceptional diversity the Discovery George MUT routes take in high peaks, beautiful ridgelines and deep indigenous forests. Photo by Jacques Marais.
  3. Kane Reilly, the reigning 60km champion, rates the Outeniqua Mountains as the perfect terrain for a 100km ultra. Photo by Jacques Marais.
  4. The pre-dawn start and 24 hour cut-off makes the 100km distance achievable to a larger proportion of trail runners, while the ITRA Ranking points and prize purse make it an attractive prospect for elite athletes. Photo by Jacques Marais.

 

For more information on the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail visit www.georgemut.run. Alternatively, please contact Zane Schmahl on 072 076 8623 or via email at  zane@ecobound.co.za.

 

About Discovery Vitality

Vitality is the largest global platform for behaviour change, underpinning the insurance products of leading insurers worldwide, with more than 20 million members in 37 markets. The Vitality model, established by Discovery Limited in South Africa, has been incentivising behaviour change amongst its clients for over 25 years. Vitality creates shared value by combining behavioural economics, clinical science, and financial incentives to encourage and reward members for taking steps to improve their health. The model began with a focus on health and wellness, and has expanded to include short-term insurance, investments and financial wellness. For more information, please visit the Vitality website or email the Discovery Media Relations team.

The George Mountain Ultra Trail – Covid-19 Strategy for 2021

Events find themselves in a predicament all over the world. For some of us sport events and more specifically trail running events have become a way to connect with your tribe, share the stoke of running kilometers, passing around high fives, hugs and even shedding some tears with your fellow participants. It’s been a while since we were able to do this properly and it will probably still be a long time before we can do it on that scale again.

With the MUT we have always been about our magnificent trails, the mountain vistas and the community that support us. We want to offer the opportunity – come June 2021 – to take back the trails and celebrate the mountain once again.

Just as most of us have to dig deep to summit Dizzy Heights on the MUT route with a good dollop of determination, we have had to dig deep into our innovative juices and add more than a dollop of determination to come up with somewhat of a “new event strategy” to make it possible for all of us.
So we are opening entries for the MUT 2021 and pinning a date to 26 June 2021. All transfer entries from 2020 – give us a shout if you are in!
You will need to pay a R50 non-refundable deposit to book your spot. If the event cannot take place we will donate the funds from this deposit to our Trail Building team in George, who build both Trail Running routes and Mountain Bike trails.
Then we will go back to the old school “on the day” entry system. By “on the day” we mean at the Friday pre-event you will need to come and register and pay the balance of your entry. Here, you will only receive your Race Number and an air five to send you on your way the next morning, regardless of whether you are doing the 60km, 25km or 10km race.
BUT….When you register on the Friday, you will also fill in your own courier slip and confirm your shirt size or any other relevant goodie bag items, which we will then courier to you post-event as your “Finishers Goodie Bag”.
What this does is, firstly, we are able to plan for the numbers with the R50 buck enrolment to make sure you have some goodies at the aid stations and plan our logistics. Secondly, it takes away the risk of losing money on the event from both you as the participant and us as race organisers. Plus you will still enjoy the spoils of a kiff goodie bag and can brag about your achievement at the local coffee shop when you rock your #MUT T-Shirt.

So go hit the Enter button and cross your fingers that we can have a kickass trail festival in June in the Garden Route. We will share more on plans like the film festival, family hikes and the Vertical Kilometer Climb challenge as we go…

The 60km race distance, at the Discovery MUT, started pre-dawn at 5am. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail 2020 – Cancelled

Dear Trail Runner,

As many of you have probably predicted this email, it probably comes with no surprise that I have to share the news with you today that we have made the decision to cancel the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail scheduled for 27 June 2020.

This event originated from the pure bliss of running freely in our Outeniqua Mountains, where adventurous, outdoor people got together to show case and celebrate the beautiful Mountain. The MUT as most of you know it, has been a project close to the hearts of many local Georgians and a kick ass run for everyone that toed the line on any of the distances offered by the event.
Some might understand the event industry a bit and some might not at all, but the fact of the matter is, when we dreamt up this event, we knew it would be a long-term investment. We asked our sponsors to trust us, we jumped through all the hoops with Governance and we promised the public a good quality event, while we spent money on the dream. Knowingly this won’t pay off for years to come still, working on a 3-year investment term is the norm for us and up to this day MUT has not brought in a cent of profit. 2020 was going to be the year for the MUT, new and exciting things planned, momentum and interest growing in the event and the backing of our great sponsors.

BUT as we all know 2020 is not the year…

Herewith the plan:

  1. The Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail will be canceled and not postponed. The calendar for later this year is already jammed packed.
  2. Your entry will be carried over. You can choose to use it for the 2021 event or the 2022 or 2023. It will be valid for 3 years excluding the increase of entry fees.
  3. We will announce the 2021 date as soon as possible but will aim for June again.

Things will get better, and we will celebrate running and racing each other again in our glorious mountains. Make use of our 3-hour training window we have and breathe the fresh air. Support our sponsors in this time as they have supported you.

We are working on a celebration “Summit Event” in December 2020 if all goes well, where we will summit some peaks, race the Vertical Kilometer and shout from the top of the mountains as loud as we can.

Yours in Adventure
Zane Schmahl
EcoBound Mountain Events

 

Covid 19 – Update

EcoBound’s plan on the Coronavirus.

Dear Fellow Rider and Runner,

There is no need to elaborate on the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently facing together. Our current plan of action is NOT to postpone or cancel any of our main events.  We are up to date with the current situation and will be keeping a close eye on how things unfold. Unfortunately like the rest, we can’t provide a real estimate of how long we will be facing this crisis and we will have to make decisions based on the information we receive and obtain from the Goverment. We will keep communication open to keep you informed and updated of any changes in our decision.

As soon as more information on our current timeline becomes available we will give our entrants feedback and communicate in advance if anything changes. We are looking at alternative ways of hosting this event even if the restrictions are not lifted in time, if all else fails we will postpone the event.
We recommend you still enter for this event if you were planning to take part.  But hold off on paying the entry fee right now (by selecting the EFT option). This will help us to start planning the logistics for this event. We will save your spot and prompt you to make payment as soon as there is more clarity.

Unfortunately we will not be able to host our regular Training Runs or Training Talks as planned but we are working on some innovative ways of keeping you active and excited while maintaining your health responsibly.  More on this soon.

Annalise’s Story of the MUT

Thank you very much for this opportunity – this will officially be my first “race report” …. So I’ll leave it at that.. hahaha 😜

My Discovery George MUT weekend started with me and Jacques somehow mis communicating times and it resulted in me missing the Race Briefing, hahaha!!! He did make up for it and luckily they are so organised at this event that the race briefing was recorded and I could watch the whole “show” on his phone!

Annalise watching the Race Briefing on her phone

Saturday started at an early 3am, because the gun goes at 5am (a bit earlier than the norm) and I have to get the girls ready as well. I love my brown bread toast with lots of Honey and Almond ButtaNut for breakfast – depending on the day I’ll have 2 pieces. I need 30 minutes just to sort myself out before a race and I woke the girls at 3:30am.  My absolutely amazing husband, Juan, the reason why I get to do what I do also got up and we are such a solid team in organising the girls and ourselves by now, we left our apartment at 4:20am to arrive at the venue at 4:30am.

I was really scared it was going to be cold as the weather predicted 8 degree’s, but when we woke up there was a very strong presence of a warm “berg wind” 😀 – some heat!!

The race started at 5am and after literally 100m of flat running you basically climb for the next 10km, it was great. I really had to take care not to push too hard at the start as I knew the second half was going to be tough, if you blow your legs early on it will be a very long day out.

First check point came very quickly and it was just before this point my headlamp decided it was a great time to start messing around with programs and power saving modes – epic fail. Travis was behind me (again thank you Travis) and he was more than happy to share his light. I do believe this was also a blessing in disguise for me later on. The 2nd check point is where I could refill my Tailwind and the climbing continued at least we had a few little downs in between. The only thing that was a bit sad is that it was still dark at this point so you can’t see the beautiful mountains. The sunrise was magical though!!! I was really looking forward to some more runnable sections, I just wanted to stretch my legs out a bit. After one or two more shorter climbs and a technical down we hit a jeep track and I could finally motor a bit, really enjoyed pushing the pace and increasing the cadence here.

On the “ridge” just after the infamous Dizzy Heights climb

CP3 was a quick hallo and then I knew my family was waiting at CP 4, could not wait to see them. It is amazing what this has done for me mentally, especially in trail running you do not really see family and friends along the way, this was such a nice touch to this race!!  I was lucky enough to share a few kilometres with the famous Mr Skyrun, thank you Bruce was lovely chatting to you, what a legend!! Before I knew it I was nearly half way, hugging my beautiful girls and blowing kisses at my hubby! Refilled my Tailwind, had some oranges, most divine date balls and off I went with Jacques doing a little jog with me giving me some race feedback. The next section was mentally quite nice as I had done it in the training run and knew what to expect. The climb after CP 5 is the worst in the race for me, the famous Dizzy Heights – it is not that long compared to what you have done but it is really steep and your legs are starting to feel the elevation a bit at this point. I just took a moment here, appreciated the majestic views and gathered myself again. It was also quite windy at places, that hot berg wind so I knew I had to look after my hydration.

CP 6 was a lovely stop, people where so friendly, actually at all the Check Points everyone was so helpful and friendly – thank you!! Again filled my Tailwind took some extra liquids here as temperatures where rising. I knew I only had 20km to go and there is a lot more runnable sections coming up where I can push my pace again. I was playing cat and mouse with Kyle Herring at this point as I kept catching him and passing him and then the other way around, after passing him at about 45km I did not see him again.

Race Start smiles for Annalise at Witfontein

CP7 was great, the guys directed all route/course commentary to Jacques hahahaha I laughed so hard. The last 5km of this race was really technical and difficult on tired legs but I felt so strong and was able to still push and run majority of the sections, I was very surprised in how well my legs felt right up to the last kilometre.  All in all, a beautiful and amazing day out, feeling blessed to be able to take part in such activities. Want to thank Brooks Running SA for their continued support as well as Feetures socks. Tailwind Nutrition keeps me going for kilometres on end 💪

Annalise coming over the line absolutely delighted

To every single person involved and the race organisers of the Discovery George MUT – Zane and Jacques, you have surpassed all expectations!!!  This race will become one of South Africa’s iconic events, every single trail runner needs to do this race at least once, go experience the beautiful Outeniqua mountains!! 60km of the most pristine single track you can imagine, I will definitely be back!!!! The local trail running community truly are amazing, thank you every single person involved for an unforgettable weekend!!!

The annual George MUT Mountain Ultra Trail, presented by Ecobound Events in the Outeniqua Nature Reserve, George, Western Cape, South Africa, RSA

The women’s podium with Annalise on the top step in a time of 08:37:54

 

 

Brendan Lombard’s Race Report

The morning started off with quite a bang and I headed out quite hard as planned as I was keen to test my legs after all the prep which had been done. I felt good and opened up an early lead of about 5 min.

Brendan Lombard leads Roelof Mostert down a descent during their battle for the Discovery MUT victory which lasted for much of the race. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The risk of running alone in the dark however caught up with me and I ended up running through thick shrub which definitely was not part of the course. I saw a light shining in the distance and immediately knew I better double back as fast as possible in order to still be in the race. I caught up to the light and realised it was Roelof. What was to ensue was a race of epic proportions.
Roelof and I had a proper dog fight out there. We changed the lead for a solid 3/4 hours and it was a game of cat and mouse. We soon figured out each others strengths and I knew if I was to try pull away too soon it would be to no avail as Roelof would just catch me on whatever gnarly descent lay ahead. I was strong on the climbs and runnable sections and I chose to bide my time until it felt right to put the hammer down.

Brendan taking the win at Witfontein, Outeniqua Nature Reserve

I think it was with about 10-15km to go that we came across quite a bit of jeep track. It is here where I knew I could move quickly. I broke away nervously as I did not know what lay ahead but trusted my intuition that it was now or never. Every so often I looked back to see where he was and I really stressed out when coming toward heavily technical descents as I knew Roelof could make up time on me here. I even started asking for a climb late into the race just to feel a bit safer as I knew I was strong here. This was answered late into the race with the treacherous “Harries Hill.” As much as I cursed this hill, I was thankful for it.
The last few km’s were nice and fast and I could open up my stride and move quickly. I looked once more to see if there was a chase and I saw no one. I then knew the race was mine.
Thank you to Roelof for a radical race. It is not often in an Ultra a race is so well contested. Big ups to the organisers of this awesome event. I think you are onto something here and it will be evident in it’s growth.
I’ll be back. 🙂
Brendan

The annual George MUT Mountain Ultra Trail, presented by Ecobound Events in the Outeniqua Nature Reserve, George, Western Cape, South Africa, RSA

Lombard and Scholtz Run to Discovery MUT Titles

Brendan Lombard run to a hard fought Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail victory over defending champion Roelof Mostert on Saturday the 15th of June 2019. The women’s race, over the flagship 60 kilometre distance was won in far more dominant fashion by Annalise Scholtz. The event also saw 25 and 9 kilometre distances contested on highly technical mountain running trails in the Outeniqua Mountains, outside George.

Brendan Lombard leads Roelof Mostert down a descent during their battle for the Discovery MUT victory which lasted for much of the race. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Lombard had made no secret of his intentions to contest the victory in the build up to the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail, which is best known by the abbreviated Discovery MUT. To achieve that goal he set out fast and had established what he estimated to be a 5 minute lead half way up the Cradock Pass climb. The pre-dawn start caused Lombard to take a wrong turn though. “I went off route for about 5 minutes, but fortunately I saw Roelof’s light” the race winner explained. The pair then stayed within sight of each other for the next 40 kilometres.

 

“I’ve never raced an ultra like that” Mostert confessed. “Usually the field splits up with everyone running their own pace, but Brendan and I ran together like it was a 25 or 35 kilometre race. By the 38 kilometre mark I was pretty broken” the second placed finisher elaborated. “Brendan simply outclassed me today” he retold, recounting how Lombard kept up a relentless pace in the closing 15 kilometres. The man from Cape Town eventually distanced Mostert towards the end of the Tonelbos section in the run into to Check Point 7, at the 55 kilometre mark.

The 60km race distance, at the Discovery MUT, started pre-dawn at 5am. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“It is probably the toughest 60 I’ve done” Lombard puffed upon crossing the finish line at the Witfontein Forest Station. “It has got a bit of everything and it’s proper technical. It was a proper dog fight with Roelof. We ran quite a bit together. I pushed it on the climbs but technical downhills are sort of my downfall so he would come past and I would fall in behind him. When we reached those runnable jeep tracks I just decided ‘let’s put the hammer down and go’” he elaborated as to how the race unfolded.

 

Lombard’s winning time was 7 hours, 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Mostert crossed the line 5 minutes and 5 seconds later. Mvuyisi Gcogco completed the podium places finishing 14 minutes and 38 second after the race winner.

For many of the runners taking part in the Discovery MUT the sun only rose well into their circumnavigation of the Outeniqua Mountains. Photo by Jacques Marais

Women’s race winner Scholtz had a lonelier run to victory. “It was fun” were the first words out of the new Discovery MUT champion’s mouth upon crossing the finish line. “I really enjoyed it. It was a tough day out but it was beautiful. I felt very strong, had some hiccups along the way but it wouldn’t be an ultra without them. But overall I’m very happy” Scholtz smiled.

 

The trail runner from Port Elizabeth was joined on the podium by former George local Chantel Nienaber and Mia Uys, a Stellenbosch University post-graduate student. Scholtz’s winning time was 8 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds, which was good enough to see her place sixth overall. Nienaber crossed the line 39 minutes and 21 seconds later, while Uys finished just over an hour after Scholtz.

Chantel Nienaber, an erstwhile George local, raced to second position in the 60km race in the Discovery MUT. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The shorter distances were if anything even more fiercely contested. The 25 kilometre race in particular saw exceptionally fast times with both the winner and second placed man breaking AJ Calitz’s 2018 course record. Making that fact more remarkable was the increased technicality of the 2019 route. Johan Cronje, the South African 1 500 metre record holder and 2013 World Championships Bronze Medallist ensured the pace was frantic from the off. The erstwhile track star was making his trail running race debut and had never completed a 25 kilometre run off-road; but that did not hold him back. He blitzed the course in a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 49 seconds.

The Discovery MUT treated trail runners in all three distances to big mountain running. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Anderson Ncube crossed the line 8 minutes and 58 seconds after Cronje; recounting how he had seen the winner fall at least twice on the Cradock Pass descent. Cronje’s falls clearly did not slow him down. His buffer to Rohan Kennedy, who finished third, was a comfortable 13 minutes and 57 seconds despite his tumbles.

 

The women’s 25 kilometre race was won by Ritsa Fouche in a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes and 45 seconds. Her nearest rival was Marta Jekot who finished 3 minutes and 15 seconds back. George resident, Rose de Jonge, complete the podium after overcoming the set-back of a nasty fall inside the first 5 kilometres.

Riaan Nieuwoudt makes his way up a technical climb during the 60km route of the Discovery MUT. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Seldom has a 9 kilometre been as tough as the Discovery MUT’s shortest distance. It like the longer distances featured true mountain running but none-the-less Warren Langridge and Marc Wierzba managed to dip under the hour mark. Langridge took the title in a time of just 55 minutes and 7 seconds; Wierzba was second 4 minutes and 11 seconds slower. Douglas Stanley rounded out the men’s podium. The women’s race over the shortest distance was won by Knysna’s Jess Devine. The 17 year old completed the very challenging course in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 18 seconds, 2 minutes and 56 seconds ahead of Trude Carstens. Ane O’Kennedy was third, just 14 seconds behind Carstens.

The Discovery MUT did not just feature mountain top panoramas but also a few trips through the Outeniqua Mountains’ hidden indigenous forests. Photo by Jacques Marais.

On Monday the Discovery MUT activities continue with the Vertical 1K challenge. The final event of the #MUTlife weekend is free to enter and takes place from the Ground Zero Bike and Trail Park in George. To take part in the Vertical 1K runners need to be at Ground Zero at 10h00 on Monday. Entry is free and runners will stand the chance of winning spot prizes, while the King and Queen of the Mountain will each receive a pair of 100% Sunglasses.

2019 Discovery MUT 60km men’s podium. From left to right: Roelof Mostert (2nd), Brendan Lombard (1st) and Mvuyisi Gcgogo (3rd). Photo by Jacques Marais.

To relive all the action from the 2019 Discovery MUT please visit the event’s Facebook page George MUT, where you will be able to view all the photos and videos from the race. For more information, visit www.georgemut.go-app.co.za.

2019 Discovery MUT 60km women’s podium. From left to right: Chantel Nienaber (2nd), Annalise Scholtz (1st) and Mia Uys (3rd). Photo by Jacques Marais.

Results 2019 Discovery MUT

60km Men

  1. Brendan Lombard (7:03:25)
  2. Roelof Mostert (7:08:30 | +05:05)
  3. Mvuyisi Gcgogo (7:18:04 | +14:38)

 

60km Women

  1. Annalise Scholtz (8:37:54)
  2. Chantel Nienaber (9:16:15 | +39:21)
  3. Mia Uys (9:41:31 | +1:04:07)

 

25km Men

  1. Johan Cronje (2:06:49)
  2. Anderson Ncube (2:15:47 | +8:58)
  3. Rohan Kennedy (2:20:46 | +13:57)

 

25km Women

  1. Ritsa Rouche (2:49:45)
  2. Marta Jekot (2:53:00 | +3:15)
  3. Rose de Jonge (3:04:52 | +15:07)

 

9km Men

  1. Warren Longridge (55:07)
  2. Marc Wierzba (59:18 | +4:11)
  3. Douglas Stanley (1:01:41 | +6:34)

 

9km Women

  1. Jess Devine (1:10:18)
  2. Trude Carstens (1:13:14 | +2:56)
  3. Ane O’Kennedy (1:13:26 | +3:10)

 

For the full results from the 2019 Discovery MUT visit www.mobiielite.com.

Finishing just before last light was definitely worth celebrating after a brutal 13 hours on the trails of the Discovery MUT. Photo by Jacques Marais.