Date – 9 October 2021
Venue – Uitsoek Hiking Hut (45 mins from Nelspruit)
Distances – 40km, 20km, 10km, 5km
The Uitsoek Story..... Uitsoek is Uitsoek
As you probably know by now there are always two sides to these stories. I asked Sven Musica, the founder of the race, to write about why and how he started the race. Then there is a little but more from us as to how it became a part of the MMS.
Take a trail runner searching for adventure, nature and vert. Stick him on an overgrown trail that has been tucked away in a hidden valley reclaimed by massive indigenous forest and open grassland. Let him suffer a little, ok, Suffer a lot! What you get is an organiser that ends up sharing the massive changes in emotion that he felt the first day he set foot on Uitsoek to as many of the other like minded trail runners looking for an incredibly picturesque race that challenges you. This is how Uitsoek Mountain Marathon came to be back in 2015. It was a pure passion driven opportunity to show the beauty of the Mpumalanga trails that had seen very little attention from the rest of the trail running community back then. I felt like I stumbled onto a Gem that offered something incredibly unique, a trail that offers almost everything except the ocean. Knowing I couldn’t do it alone, I roped a close friend Andrew Dollenberg into it, He had structure in his life (something I lack a little) and would then guide me in the right direction on decision making to make sure the event was a success. I would later fall back on going solo, this proved short lived and opened the opportunity to ask Arlo van Heerden if he would be interested to help keep it going. 3 years on and we felt we needed something larger to take it to another level and that was the moment we gave our small event with a massive heart up for adoption to KZNTR and asked them to please nurture this small piece of trail paradise for us.
The race was already called Uitsoek Mountain Marathon, so it some ways it spurred the idea of the series, but it was in 2019, before the idea of the series came about that we got chatting with the Musica’s and Arlo about taking the race over. It was obvious that th race meant a huge amount to them. We joked that essentially is was their 4th child, so passing it on was never going to be easy. But equally their vision for the future of the business meant that event organizing was always going to require a big push come race month. Entries for the 2019 race were open when we met in early August to discuss how it all might happen. We sat around the table drinking tea and decided to draw the line in the sand right there, all the future entries and costs will fall to KZNTR and all pastt entries and paid costs remained. So it really wasn’t about the money, but about the place and keeping the event going for all those who loved it and will come to love it. And of course Sven, Karen and Arlo now get to do take the photos of something beautiful that they created.
Team work we say?
The Venue - Uitsoek Hut (45 mins from Nelspruit)
For this beaitful Mountain Hut we have SAFCOL and Komatiland to thank. Year on year they have been very accommodating and supportive of the event.
Camping and the dorms in the hiking hut are the two options to stay on site which is always a good option.
But if you want something more comfortable Sudwala Lodge and the surrounding BnB’s are within 20 minutes drive of the Uitsoek Hut.