With scenic steep hills, windblown lowlands, craggy mountains, marshy forests and spectacular views over mighty Lake Hovsgol, the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 42km and 100km ultra marathon truly offers pure wilderness to the participants. It is one of the most remote races worldwide.
The untouched nature in the Hovsgol National Park is the main reason why runners refer to the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset as the most beautiful 100km run on the planet. The course in the National Park in Northern Mongolia follows lake-side single tracks and horse trails, stretching all the way to the Siberian Mountains in the far North.
Course Record Set by Reigning French Champion Balson
Runners from 13 countries gathered at the shores of Lake Hovsgol in August 2014 for the 16th edition of this spectacular race. French runner Alex Balson, who lives in Northern Mongolia, set a new record time for the 42km in 3 hours 48 minutes. Considering the difficulty of the terrain and the accumulated elevation gain/loss of 2,255m in the marathon distance, that is an impressive time indeed!
For the 100km ultra distance, the accumulated elevation gain/loss is no less than 3,365m. Sean Smith from Australia managed to come in first in 13 hours 37 minutes. Especially remarkable was the breathtaking finish in the veteran category, where 69-year-old Marc Progin from Switzerland and Hans Andersen from Denmark sprinted head-to-head through the finish line and shared the first place in 14 hours 52 minutes.
The fastest female on 42km was Rose Kennedy from the United States, while her compatriot Rhonda Stricklett won the 100km ultra distance in a strong timing of 14 hours 25 minutes.
Preserving the Beauty of Hovsgol National Park
The Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset is organised on a non-profit basis. All proceeds are used to keep Hovsgol National Park pristine and clean as well as to support the culture of the local nomads via the ecoLeap foundation registered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Race director Nicolas Musy says,
“We want to keep this pristine mountain area as beautiful as it is now. That is why we fund a litter control project and its ongoing operation including hiring park rangers, providing eco-friendly garbage bags and raising awareness nation-wide through TV ads and education of local children and families.”
The ecoLeap foundation also aims to support and encourage local native traditions and customs. The pristine nature that makes this part of the world so special also supports the unique culture of the nomads and their way of life. The nomads should be proud of their abilities and culture.
Register for 7 Days Full of Discovery!
The Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset is not a 1 day event, and participants are treated to beautiful sights of wild horses, wild yaks and seas of wildflowers.
“We offer a week full of adventure and excitement. After the race, participants gather in a picturesque camp at the lakeshore, sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts and get in touch with local nomads and their culture. In the days before and following the race, runners can enjoy a variety of leisure activities: horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, hiking, or mountain biking.”
That definitely sounds enticing, and runners with an appetite for a special adventure will not be disappointed!
Registrations are now open for the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 2015, which takes place on 5 August 2015 at Hovsgol National Park.