200 Miler | +15000m

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Quick FactsCourseCompulsory Equipment200 Mile Pilgrims

The small forestry town of Sabie is situated in the North Eastern Drakensberg Escarpment on the banks of the Sabie River in Mpumalanga(Place of the rising sun), South Africa. The name Sabie is derived from the Tsonga word “Ulusaba” which means “fearful river” because the river was once teeming with dangerous Nile crocodile

The history of Sabie:

Names such as Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, Sir Herbert Baker and Chief Lesisi line the pages of the town’s historic annals, which started as a base camp for hunters and transport riders. This quickly changed when HT Glynn hit a rock while target shooting with some friends. In 1871 a diverging bullet revealed a rich gold reef, and soon the gold rush of the first commercial gold extraction had found its way to the farm Grootfontein.

While the gold that was produced secured wealth, the extraction thereof consumed much of the natural forest of the surrounding area.  In 1876, the son of Maria Shires, Joseph Brooks Shires planted the first commercial Eucalyptus and Wattle plantations on his farm Onverwacht (now Brooklands) to supply the demand for firewood and mining struts.  Today Sabie lies in the centre of one of the largest man-made forests in the world.

And now, long after the departure of the Gold Rush to the Witwatersrand (Gauteng), the trees bare testimony of bygone years.  Forestry is and will remain deeply rooted in the history and future of this town.

This is where your 200mile Mac Mac pilgrimage will start and finish!!!

ITRA Points: 6 & Mountain Points: 5

 

200Miler

Quick Facts:

 

 

200Miler

100Mile Out:

Trail Section 1.

Merry Pebbles Sabie to Mac Mac Hut

Distance:

55km

Ascent:

3200m

Desent:

2615m

Drop Bag Opportunities:

Mac Mac Hut(55km)

 

Description:

Leaving all the technicalities such as kit checks & race briefings behind you in the Sabie valley you will start your epic journey climbing out of the Sabie valley up onto the escarpment. This section consists of lot of climbing but rewarded by so many beautiful scenery and a sunset from Mount Anderson(2100m)  to die for. Please don’t . Once on the escarpment most of the climbing for this section is done and moving into the night it will cool down a lot before reaching the comfort of the crew at Mac Mac Hut and your first opportunity to dig into those drop bag supplies. Don’t use all those supplies as you can make use of this drop bag 4 times in your race.

Trail Section 2:

Mac Mac Hut to Pilgrims Section:

More info and map in progress will be update soon!!

Section Distance:

53km

Section Ascent:

1765m

Section Decent:

2100m

Drop Bag opportunities:

Mac Mac Hut(36.6km)

Pilgrims(16.4km)

 

Section 3: 

Pilgrims to Pilgrims Circles Clock wise:

Description: 

More info and map in progress will be update soon!!

Section Distance:

52km

Section Ascent:

2680m

Section Decent:

2680m

Drop Bag opportunities:

Pilgrims(52km)

Compulsory Medical Check has to be passed before starting back run.

 

100Mile Back:

At this point runners expect some more company when joining up with the 100 mile race and run the course back to the start in Sabie in an anti clock direction on circle sections. Aid station can now be expected every 7km to 16km.

Trail Section 4. 

Pilgrims to Pilgrims Circle Anti Clock wise:

 

Description:

Gold  was  discovered  in  1872,  six  hours  by  horse  from  Lydenburg,  by  Thomas  Mclachlan  and  partners.    This  triggered  the  first  gold rush  in  South  Africa  and  diggers  from  all  over  started  to  flock  to  what  later  became  Mac-Mac.    Alex  “wheelbarrow”  Patterson  left  Mac-Mac to prospect and in September1873 discovered the rich gold deposits in the Pilgrim’s Creek

The quaint old gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest is the halfway point of your epic journey. The history of gold mining operations in the Pilgrim’s Rest area goes back more than 160 years to the 1840’s. The gold rush began in 1873 when the Lydenburg magistrate advised the Transvaal Volksraad that gold had been discovered in the streams. Hundreds of diggers from as far afield as Australia, America, England and France flocked to the gold-fields to make their fortune. The trail passes many relics from these early days of mining as one climbs away from the start of the trail.

Section Distance:

52km

Section Ascent:

2680m

Section Descent:

2680m

Technicality:

Moderately steep climb at start, from there on, rolling hills to the finish. Open grassland escarpment running over boulder fields, as well as some forest sections with beautiful soft undergrowth. Some Rocky single track trail.

Scenery:

Lush indigenous Forest down below and Boulder fields on the escarpment with Clivia forests at lower altitudes. Beautiful views looking down the escarpment over the Lush Lowveld.  Breathtaking views of the Crystal Springs Nature Reserve.

Fauna And Flaura:

Massive Indigenous trees.  Endangered High altitude Grassland. Wild flowers with indigenous ferns and clivias. Wildlife such as Bushbuck , Duiker , Reedbuck, Warthog, Bush pig Baboons and the Morgenzon Wild Horses. If you get very lucky you might even spot the very elusive Black Leopard that roams the area.  Keep your eyes open for the beautiful bird life that can be spotted in the lush forests. The Purple Crested Turaco is a bird that should not be overlooked, as it’s colours are as vibrant as the Lowveld itself! With a bit of luck Fish Eagle spotting’s can also occur now and then.

 Pilgrimsrest to Morgenzon Forest Station:

From our start at The Vine restaurant and pub we cross the Blyde River and your ascent starts to grassland hills, Protea trees and small valleys with indigenous forest joining a trench that supplied water to the Columbia Mine that brings you to the edge of your first plantation passing Morgenzon hut on to Morgenzon Forest Station. This is your first checkpoint on return run and also a spectators point.

Distance:

8.7km

Ascent:

690m

Descent:

310m

Morgenzon Forest Station:

Spector Point:

Yes – Morgenzon Forset Station

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Morgenzon Forest Station to Blackhill Hut:

From Morgenzon forest station runner first cross Clewer stream joining the old Robbers Pass, an old trade route to Pilgrim’s Rest from Lydenburg. Descending to Clewer Falls before a steep climb in a beautiful indigenous forest with a crystal clear stream, lots of Clivias and Ferns , until it joins up with the old wagon path. Another decent into the valley before climbing past some waterfalls and opening up into a fynbos area before reaching Blackhill Checkpoint.

Distance:

8km

Ascent:

850m

Descent:

470m

Blackhill Hut:

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Blackhill Hut to Exelsior Hut:

Good news: No big climbs for a while. Runners that reach this section at dusk will have a spectacular sunset. The section starts with a small climb to the Blackhill viewpoint reaching an altitude of close to 2100m. Running on a rocky escarpment you start descending slowly into a valley reaching some Pine plantations. Small climb to a lookout, if you reach it in daylight, you will be overlooking Chrystal Springs and the Themeda Hills. The trail descends again and eventually arrives at a large stream with waterfalls and pools. The trail then ascends to a viewpoint overlooking the Origstad Valley and then crosses grassland until Excelsior Hut is reached.

Distance:

10.3km

Ascent:

340m

Descent:

510m

Excelsior Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Excelsior Hut to Morgenzon Forest Station:

Another climb, another viewpoint before going through a Pine plantation filled with night life staring you down. Also be on the lookout for wild horses roaming the area.  You will undulate through grassland and Pines before eventually descending into the beautiful Clivia Forset . The trail then descends into a valley to a small stream and a historical wagon track. The path then passes the Jock of the Bushveld plaque and the Robbers Pass plaque before reaching Morgenzon Forest Station for a second time.

Distance:

13.6km

Ascent:

410m

Descent:

620m

Morgenzon Forest Station

Spector Point:

Yes – Morgenzon Forest Station

 Cut off:

Yes 24h00 Friday

Drop bag:

No

Morgenzon Forest Station to Pilgrims The Vine

Next part of the trial is fairly easy and short, allowing for a further opportunity to visit the beautiful little town of Pilgrim’s Rest. The trail descends past a couple of old mine shaft  to the Blyde River. Following an old railway line into Peace Tree Creek and into town for the second visit to The Vine Pub. Just in time for a pint with the boys before closing time.

Distance:

11km

 

Ascent:

390m

Descent:

770m

Pilgrims  The Vine

Spector Point:

Yes – The Vine Pilgrims Rest

Cut off:

Yes 02h00 Saturday Morning

Drop bag:

Yes – 3rd time

 

Trail Section 5:

Pilgrims to Mac Mac Hut Section:

More info and map in progress will be update soon!!

Section Distance:

53km

Section Ascent:

2100

Section Decent:

1765m

Drop Bag opportunities:

Mac Mac Hut(16.4km)

Mac Mac Hut(36.6km)

Pilgrims Rest The Vine to Mac Mac Hut

Leaving Pilgrims you will pass the old Mine refinery. This section connects the Prospectors trail with the Fanie Botha Trail and is a nice flowing forestry road connecting us with Mac Mac Hut for the third time. Although it is runnable road the steady climb hampers running a fast pace.

Distance:

16.4km

Ascent:

620m

Descent:

290m

Mac Mac Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

Yes – Third Time

 

 

Mac Mac Hut to Graskop Hut:

After sampling all Ouma’s stash in your drop bag you will head out on an old section of the Fanie Botha hiking trail not in use anymore towards Graskop. This section starts with some forestry road leading into a single track climb into the open with a view of Graskop and Gods window in the distance. Dropping down towards Graskop you must take caution crossing the Pilgrims/Graskop/Sabie road. A short forest run and you’re at Graskop Hut were the 50milers will have their start at 05h00 Saturday.

Distance:

13.9

Ascent:

400m

Descent:

580m

Graskop Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

16h00 Saturday

Drop bag:

No

 

Graskop is a small town in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It was set up in the 1880s as a gold mining camp but it now serves as a tourist destination and the timber industry. The name is Afrikaans for grassy hillock. “God’s Window”, a scenic view from the escarpment of the Lowveld below, is located outside the town.

Graskop is 14 km south-east of Pilgrim’s Rest and 28 km north of Sabie. It was laid out between 1880 and 1890 on a farm belonging to Abel Erasmus, Native Commissioner of the Transvaal Republic. Named after a grassy hillock (Afrikaans gras, ‘grass’, kop, ‘hillock’). Originally it was a mining camp. It is the best place to view the “Edge of the Lowveld”, with a sudden drop of 700m

Graskop Hut to Mac Mac Pools

The first 8km will be a combination of free-flowing jeep and single track, to get the legs warmed up nicely, before a big drop into an amazing indigenous forest. At the bottom of the valley you will cross the Mac Mac river and start your climb back up to the  Mac Mac pools check point.

Distance

12.8km

Ascent:

600m

Descent:

650m

Mac Mac Pools

Spector Point:

Yes – Mac Mac Pools

Cut off:

No

Drop bag:

No

Mac Mac Pools to Mac Mac Hut

After a refreshing stop and seeing your supporters you will make your way down to Mac Mac falls. The 65 m high Mac Mac Falls, in the Mac Mac River, is a declared National Monument. This waterfall was originally a single stream, but gold miners blasted it with dynamite to divert the river in an attempt to work the rich gold-bearing reef over which it plunges. A short 7.5km through plantations and a steep single track forest section will bring you to the next Aid Station at Mac Mac hut.

 

9.9km

Ascent:

480m

Descent:

245m

Mac Mac Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

16h00 Saturday

Drop Bag

Yes – 4th time

 

Trail Section 6. Mac Mac Hut to Merry Pebbles

Section Distance:

55km

Ascent:

2615m

Desent:

3200m

Drop Bag Opportunities:

None

 

Mac Mac Hut to Stables

If you thought you’re on top and done climbing think again this section has the most ascents on the route. At Mac Mac hut you will continue you’re really nice single-track climb. Weather depending, you should have spectacular views of the Graskop escarpment and Gods Window. Up and over you will descent into the Tweefontein valley with a small river, rockpool and waterfall. The trail ascends on the ridge line overlooking beautiful Sabie valley. Once on the ridge line you will have the amazing view of Mount Moody, at that point you will ask yourself, are we going over that mountain? Once over the mountain you will join an easy rocky runnable jeep track that ends with the Stables checkpoint.

16.3 km

Ascent:

1020m

Descent:

831m

Stables Hut:

Spectator point

No

Cut off

20h00

Drop Bag

No

Physio:

Most likely

Compulsory Medical Check has to be passed

Stables Hut to Mt Anderson Split

After the party at Stables, up a short jeep track section that sends you down a spectacular single track that leads on to Hartebeesvlakte. This is truly one of the world’s hidden beauties.  Here you should keep your eyes open for Hartebees, White-tailed Gnus, Burchell’s Zebras, Blesbok and perhaps a Leopard if you are lucky.  Once over the Hartebeesvlakte you will then pass close to the summit of Mount Anderson via jeep track that peaks at an altitude of 2284 Meters, then around to the top of the escarpment.

 

14.9km

Ascent:

735m

Descent:

617m

Mt Anderson Split

Spectator point

No

Cut off

No

 

Mt Anderson Split to Maritzbos Hut

Now we are getting to the business end of things, you should welcome some downhill.  Some call it the Towerbos or Magic Forest others call it Pain forest. A super steep slippery wet descent to Maritzbos that never ends. Some will also go down there in the dark. This section is a real gem of 6km indigenous forest, rivers, rock pools and the most spectacular waterfalls. You will cross several streams on slippery wooden bridges. The final stretch flattens out till you get to the Party at Maritzbos aid station

6.2km

Ascent:

290

Descent:

900m

Maritzbos Hut

Spector Point:

No

Cut off:

06h00 Sunday

Drop Bag

No

Maritzbos Hut to Ceylon Hut

The first section between Maritzbos and the Ceylon Hut is a runnable 8.7 km jeep track section with one or two climbs to negotiate. At Ceylon hut you can almost see the end, and this is where you are going to start swearing at the RD

8.5km

Ascent:

250m

Descent:

466m

Ceylon Hut

Spector Point:

Yes

Cut off:

08h00

Drop Bag

No

Ceylon Hut to Merry Pebbles

This is a real tester for the mental training you have done over the past year. Steady jeep tracks climb to the top of the “The Why the F” koppie aka ‘Frikkie’s Folly’. A really spectacular descent on a MTB single track brings you to the bottom were you will follow the Sabie river, one more river crossing and a cold Sabie Brewery beer awaits you at the finish.

9.5km


Ascent:

320m

Descent:

380m

*** IMPORTANT NOTICE ***
Please take note that it is strictly prohibited to run on the Mac Mac route without the permission of the land owners and the relevant permits. If you do so you jeopardise the entire event.

Compulsory Equipment

List is compulsory for first 100miles out. First 100miles out has stretches up to 55km between aid stations and can be seen as the rugged self sufficient and self navigate adventure of the race were the second 100miles back you will share the trail with the normal 100mile race and be spoiled with fully stocked aid stations  every 8 to 17km. Compulsory equipment for 100miles back is same as for normal 100mile race(refer to 100mile section).

200 Mile Pilgrims

 

 

 

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