Hosted by Wildrunner, the series is the only one of its kind in South Africa. A tough, pure mountain running series made up of three separate races; the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge, (JMC), the Helderberg Mountain Challenge (HMC) and the Marloth Mountain Challenge (MMC). Each event consists of a Lite, Extreme and Ultra distance race. To complete the series, participants must compete in the same distance category at each race.
Mountain running takes us beyond our comfort zones, across exposed and challenging trails, and brings with it inherent danger, and equal reward. An escape from the mundane, participants of the series will, between May and September 2018, experience the alpine-like landscape of the Jonkershoek Mountains, steep technical trails and narrow ridge lines of the Helderberg Mountains, and the huge climbs and descents of the breath-taking Swellendam hiking trails at Marloth. Each event presents unique natural elements, weather conditions, and running terrain.
The comprehensive compulsory kit list for the series is clearly indicative of the level of preparation required, and a peep at the imagery from previous years demonstrates just some of the unrivaled beauty that these routes will bring.
A few of the well-known speedsters and mountain gurus lining up this year will be Rachel Manyathi, Pieter Calitz, Katya Soggot, Andrew Hagen, Lucas Adams, Robert Rorich, Jonathan Marc Black, Annamart Laubscher, Hayley Preen, Alexandra Quenet and Kristen Heath.
A look back at the history and evolution of the series sets the scene for the 2018 edition…
Wildrunner was born in November 2007, and, after a notable gap in the trail running arena for more varied mountain races, the first Helderberg Mountain Challenge took place under Wildrunner management in October 2010. The first Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge was hosted in August 2011, with 736 runners on the start line. It was only in August 2014 that the Mountain Challenge Series became an exciting 3-event series, with the new Marloth Mountain Challenge, added to the mix that September. Treacherous weather conditions resulted in just 34 solo runners completing the MMC in its inaugural year. It is undeniably an extreme event (3 494m of ascent and 3 494m of descent), positioned for hardcore mountain runners. MMC is also a qualifying race for the iconic Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®.
Mountain events are seldom without their drama, and in March 2015 a fire broke out in the Jonkershoek Valley, destroying 80% of the Cape Pine plantations. The 5th edition of the JMC continued with minor route changes.
In 2016, Wildrunner introduced the MMC Lite option, opening the series up to participants who want a taste of mountain running, but are not ready to commit to the Ultra or Extreme options.
In 2016, a well-known racing duo and friends, AJ Calitz and Bernard Rukadza smashed the MMC 55km record, setting it at 7h5min41seconds as they broke the tape together. Calitz commented: “Magnificent, grueling, but stunningly beautiful, and running with my brother Bernie was great.”
In 2017, Calitz returned to the MMC to take the record below 7 hours. In the same year, tenacious athlete Carla Van Huyssteen broke the MMC record and won the Bos Sport Mountain Challenge Series outright; becoming the first woman to do so.
In 2018, Wildrunner expects the usual mix of big mountain moments, triumphs, and the inevitable drama to emerge as the series unfolds. With a number of strong contenders lining up across the distances and an impressive prize purse on offer, the results page is going to be the space to watch. New presenting sponsor, Jaybird, joins naming partner Bos Sport for the first time this year. Technical partner, Raidlight South Africa, as well as Steenberg and Saggy Stone Brewing Co, are all on board to round out what will be a superb show down.
Entries for the JMC 24km on 19 May are sold out, but you can still enter this distance by taking up one of the full series entries – swiftly!
Registration for JMC
No Entries on the day will be accepted if entries sell out beforehand.
If late entries are available they will incur a R40 late entry fee on top of the normal fee.
Compulsory pre-event registration and number collection is applicable for the 38km and 24km participants. Pre-registration is on:
- Tuesday 15 May from 12 - 6pm at the Fire and Ice Hotel in Cape Town
- Wednesday 16 May from 12 - 5pm at the Trail Station in Westlake (Includes Beer Tasting)
- Friday 18 May from 11am - 2pm at the Start/Finish venue in Jonkershoek.
Upgrades and Downgrades subject to availability. Please contact the office 021 821 9898 to confirm availability.