Mnweni mountain marathon

06 may 2023

The story

The Mnweni Marathon was born in the midwinter of 2000 when trail-running legend Bruce Arnett and friend Mark Tannian pioneered the original route of this race. Starting their hike in clear sunny weather from Isandhlwana Police Station and ending about 50km and a raging blizzard later, at Club Maluti.

The allure of the challenge grew, and the first running of the point-to-point route as a race took place in January 2001. 11 runners took part in what was to all intents and purposes a gathering of friends who had set themselves to conquer the route. In 2002 the route was changed to today’s circular and less extreme format due to the logistical difficulties associated with a linear race that spanned such extreme terrain.

Over the years, entries have grown, largely by word of mouth, but recently through listings on the internet and other trail running schedules, from about 30 in 2006 to around 70 in 2010 to the event being fully subscribed with the 100-runner limit being reached in 2012, many of them now on an “annual pilgrimage”, and confirmed members of the Mnweni family.

Mnweni, ‘the place of fingers’, is located between the Royal Natal National Park and the Cathedral range in the heart of the Drakensberg escarpment. In years past, this stretch of the Drakensberg was affectionately seen by hardy mountaineers as “remote and treacherous” as the paths are “long and steep”. The terrain is mountainous and the weather unpredictable.

Mnweni Mountain Marathon Transparent Background

Entries and Registration

Entries opening Soon!

Click here to see additional merchandise options available with race entries.

Online Entries Open: 10:00am, Thursday, 01 September 2023
Online Entries Close: Midday, Monday, 01 May 2023

Registration and Late Entries: Registration will open at 04:00pm on Friday, 05 May 2023, and will close at 08:00pm. Registration will commence again on race day at 05:30am. Late Entries will be available at registration  for the short and medium courses but at a R50 surcharge.

Race Itinerary

Courses

Mountain Marathon

Start time: 06:00am
Distance: 38.28km
Elevation gain: 2008m 
Aid Stations: 

*Please note compulsory equipment is required for this course

2021 Stats

Mens Winner: Jacques Buys (05:07:00)
Ladies Winner: Megan Wade (06:54:12)

Average Time: 08:30:29
Longest Time: 12:51:14

Finishers: 155 runners

Download route

Mountain Challenge

Start time: 07:00am
Distance: 19.28km
Elevation gain: 549m
Aid Stations: 

*Please note this course requires compulsory equipment

2021 Stats

Mens Winner: Nkululeko Khumalo (02:01:50)
Ladies Winner: Leah Sloman (02:21:02)

Average Time: 03:53:42
Longest Time: 08:56:42

Finishers: 97 runners

Download route

Medium course

Start time: 07:00am | Walkers Welcome
Distance: 11.04km
Elevation gain: 229m
Aid Stations: 

2021 Stats

Mens Winner: Phakamani Madlala (00:51:48)
Ladies Winner: Landie Greyling (00:59:21)

Average Time: 01:41:50
Longest Time: 02:46:29

Finishers: 52 runners

Download route

short course

Start time: 07:00am | Walkers Welcome
Distance: 5.61km
Elevation gain: 61.6m
Aid Stations: 

2021 Stats

Mens Winner: Clinton De Sousa (00:34:30)
Ladies Winner: Samantha Meyrick (00:44:44)

Average Time: 00:53:44
Longest Time: 01:10:08

Finishers: 10 runners

Download route

The VENUE

Mnweni Cultural and Hiking center

Serving as the base of operations for the race, Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Center offers Rondavels, dormitories, and camping to participants and supporters at the venue.

Catering will be available and provided by La Barista from Friday evening through to Sunday morning.

MMS Mnweni Image

Directions

From Durban (ETA 3 h 15 min):

  • Travel northbound on the N3.
  • Take exit 194 and turn left onto R74.
  • Continue straight for ~43km and turn left onto Kingsway Road (R616) in Bergville.
  • Continue straight for ~15km and turn left onto a dirt road (before the Banana Bridge; see “Please be aware” under map). 
  • After 2.3km turn right and follow the road for 15km until you reach the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre

From Johannesburg (ETA 4 h 15 min):

  • Travel southbound on the N3.
  • Take exit 103 and turn right onto the N5 toward Harrismith/Bethlehem.
  • Follow N5 for appr. 4.8km and turn left onto R74.
  • Continue on the R74 for 8.6km and turn left to stay on the R74 (signposted Bergville).
  • Continue straight on the R74 for 64.4km and turn right onto Kingsway Road (R616) in Bergville.
  • Continue straight for ~15km and turn left onto a dirt road (before the Banana Bridge; see “Please be aware” under map). 
  • After 2.3km turn right and follow the road for 15km until you reach the Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre
KZNTR-Mnweni-Mountain-Marathon-May21-Alternate-route-1

Please note that the Google Map will take you across banana brigde. Please be sure to follow the map above

Alternative Accommodation

Kezlyn-Farm-Cottages

Merchandise

MMS Merch Mar22 - Mnweni Garment Transparent Background

Race garments

R 0

Get an exclusive 2022 Mnweni short-sleeve race garment made from high-quality, quick-wicking fabric with a sublimated print. View the sizing chart below. Values represent width and length respectively.

MMS Long Sleeves

R 0

Get an exclusive 2022 Mountain Marathon Series casual cotton long-sleeve shirt. View the sizing chart below. Values represent width and length respectively.

MMS Merchandise - Cotton Long Sleeve Shirt (Grey) fronts only
MMS Merch Mar22 - Caps

series cap

R 0
MMS Merch Mar22 - Beanie (3)

series beanie

R 0
MMS Merch Mar22 - Buff

series BUFF

R 0