The MTN Clarens race has gained rapid popularity in its 5-year existence and is the second South African marathon that will be part of the global UCI (International Cycling Union) World Marathon Series. Earlier this year, the venue of Sabie in Mpumalanga played host to a UCI rated marathon as well.

Two other UCI World Marathon Series events have taken place since the MTN Sabie Classic driven by Nissan, with one held in Spain and one in France during the month of April.

The advantage for South African elite athletes competing in the MTN Clarens marathon is that the top 20 riders from each World Series event gain automatic entry into the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships to be held in Kirchberg, Austria at the end of June.

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje / Nikon

Top men and women competitors will challenge the 103km UCI Pro ultra marathon and UCI Pro 74km marathon respectively on Saturday 4 May. Also on the day, avid cyclists have the option of participating in the 74km marathon. Race organiser Advendurance will host their Nissan half-marathon distance of 45km and the Buycycle 20km fun race on Sunday 5 May, which will close a weekend full of mountain bike enjoyment.

Advendurance has confirmed that international mountain biking stars Steffen Thum (Ultra Sport Rose racing team), Stefan Sahm (Bulls), Pablo Morales and Tom Ettlich have entered.

A new feature to the already popular race route is that there will be less gravel roads as this has been replaced with more dual tracks and single track running along the river and past the Lesotho Highlands Project before making its way toward the first big climb, which starts at the 44km mark.

According to Advendurance, the route is visually appealing yet challenging. It follows sand road, jeep track, huge rock-trails and single track over some of the most incredible rock landscapes in this country.

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje / Nikon

The MTN Clarens mountain bike marathon is made up of a loop that starts and finishes in Clarens Town Square. This spectacular route crosses the Maluti Mountains on the edge of the Lesotho border, which is the highest mountain range in South Africa.

Event info:

  • MTN Ultra distance: 103km – 1700m ascent
  • MTN marathon distance: 74km – 1200m ascent
  • Nissan half marathon distance: 40km – 900m ascent
  • Buycycle fun race: 20km

To more info and to enter, visit Online pre-entries close on Sunday 28 April at midnight. Late entries will be accepted but will incur a R50 penalty over and above the race entry fee.

Follow MTN National MTB Series – Clarens on Facebook ( and Twitter (@mtnnationalmtb) to view latest announcements as well as route profiles and maps, or call 086 199 0001 for any further info.