Lesotho Sky Marathon 50K
When one has an opportunity to explore and play in a new mountain range, one simply does not pass up that opportunity. Even though I had just raced the SkyRun 100k in Lady Gray I was excited at the opportunity to race the Lesotho Sky Marathon 50k the following weekend. Thursday before the race I caught a ride with a friend to the Malibia Lodge where the race would start on Saturday.
On Friday, before the race, I took advantage of some free time and headed off to explore the trails. While exploring I found a peak to scramble up. While soaking in the beautiful views I was able to squeeze in a nap on the peak before the afternoon storm rolled in.
Prior to runners assembling at the starting line we were treated to a yummy buffet breakfast by the Malibia Lodge. The start gun went off at 5:30 am with not a cloud in the sky and what was predicted to be a beautiful day. It was nice starting a race in daylight. Runners took off down the road for a short section before turning on to the lower trail. The lower trail consisted of non technical terrain and mild rolling hills. We followed the trail around for about 8k before crossing back by the start/finish line. This loop allowed runners to spread out and helped prevent any big bottle necks as we began the first big climb.
Check point 2 was also an aid station where runners could fill water and grab additional food. After this check point/aid station runners would not pass another check point with water for 21k, although with all the recent rain there were plenty of streams available for runners to fill water bottles. Leaving this check point we had a little bit of climb left followed by a ridge line run. While running on the ridge there were many times we ran off trail on the tundra. For me there is a real sense of freedom and oneness with the mountain when given the opportunity to run in this situation.
Passing the three check points on the ridge line I began the decent down to the next check point. The decent started off pretty technical and gradually became less so the closer to the next check point I got. Leaving this check point I had one last big climb in front of me. To this point I had been running a causal race and more just enjoying my time in the mountains than really focusing on racing. Approaching the top of the climb the photographer told me I was in 3rd so I decided to push on the final decent. The decent lasted for about 5k, and I had a blast flying down the mountain. The last 2k was back on the river trail as we made our way to the Malibia Lodge and the Finish Line.
The mountain range in Lesotho is incredibly beautiful and the hospitality of the Lesotho people is amazing. During my stay at the Lodge it was not uncommon to hear employees singing as an expression of their happiness.
Time – 7h 32m
Place –2nd open female; 3rd overall female
Socks – Feetures Elite light cushion low cut
Shoes – Altra Superior
Nutrition – about 150 cal/hour
Hydration – Nathan Vapor Airess pack
Post race recovery – Hammer Recoverrite and Tissue Rejuvenator