Did you know?
You should eat a normal breakfast before running an ultra marathon – don't disturb your system.
The Loskop Ultra-Marathon in Mpumalanga province is consistently rated as one of the country's top five long-distance running races.
And that's not because of the wicked pasta party they hold in Middelburg the night before, or because most of the locals turn out to support the runners or even because it's so well organised. It's because of the hilly challenges – namely the Kranspoort Pass and Varaday's Hill stages – that tap you, that sap you and ultimately snap you if your preparations were anything but flawless.
These notorious hills are well spaced apart with easy running stretches that allow you to recover and temporarily rebuild your resources.
This 50-kilometre marathon in Mpumalanga begins in the town of Middelburg in mid-April each year, just before dawn. You run through the quiet streets and then head out to Loskop Dam, managed by Forever Resorts, the naming sponsor of the race.
The beacon you can see from far away is the Post Office Tower, which actually stands at the 22-kilometre mark. Once you enter the Loskop Dam area, it would help if you had studied the relevant wildlife books before taking on this Mpumalanga marathon. Watch out for the wild animals along the way.
Race preparations for the Loskop Ultra-Marathon include a series of long runs and, possibly, a half-marathon about a month before the event; a lot of hill running and a good idea of how much liquid you're going to need to take in throughout the race.
At the same time as the ultra-marathon, the Forever Resorts Wild Challenge, a half-marathon, also known as 'The Wild Thing', is run.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Middelburg Marathon Club
Tel: +27 (0)13 243 2683
How to get here
The Loskop Ultra-Marathon is held in Middelburg in the Mpumalanga province, a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, east on the N4 highway.
Best time to visit
The Loskop Ultra-Marathon is run during the mild autumn month of April.
Around the area
Middelburg is surrounded by very pleasant scenery and several nature reserves. It's also the gateway to the Lowveld region and only a few hours from the Kruger National Park.
What will it cost
The entry fee for the ultra-marathon is R130 (the half-marathon has a R80 fee).
Where to stay
You could stay at a resort near the dam, or opt for one of the many other choices – guesthouses, B&Bs, self-catering or camping.