The Course

The event course (click here to view the Course Map) follows a lakeside single track north of Camp Toilogt through woods and over windblown lowlands for the first 12km (7.5 miles). In the next 5 km, the course departs the lake and heads up over 700 meters (2,400 feet) into the mountains to spectacular views and 2,300 meter (7,550 ft) Chichee Pass. From this first pass, the route heads south along a ridge, descends steeply into a river valley, follows along the river bed through sometimes marshy sections, returns up another river valley, and climbs steeply through a mossy forest to Khirvesteg Pass. From the second pass, runner's descend steeply again to another valley and return to the lakeshore to make their way back to Camp Toilogt and the 42km mark - the finish of the marathon and Aid-station No. 4 for 100 km runners.

For the 100 km course, the route continues along the lake to the south-west, following a mostly flat dirt trail for 15 km, then ascends Jankhai Pass at just under 2,000 meter elevation. From Jankhai Pass, the course is primarily a gentle downhill over trails and unpaved single-track roads, with the final 25 km (15 miles) level along the lakeshore. The accumulated elevation gain/loss (click here to view the Elevation Chart) for the marathon distance is around 2,255 meters (7,400 ft) and for the 100 km it is around 3,365 meters (11,040 ft). Lowest elevation is 1645 meters (5,400 ft) and highest elevation is 2,300 meters (7,550 ft). The cut-off time for the ultramarathon is 18 hours.

Cutoff times (see Course Map for details) at key aid stations will be enforced so that the last runner finishes the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset before last light (Sunset!). Cutoff times are arranged to ensure that any runners that miss cutoffs can be shuttled to the finish area by last light. Local volunteers assist in relaying supplies and manning the aid stations. Doctors will be able to reach all sections of the course on horseback.

The Setting

The central feature of the course is Lake Hovsgol National Park and its pristine alpine lake. At an elevation of 1,645 meters (5,400 ft) and with average depth of 245 meters (800 ft), it is one of the largest single bodies of drinkable fresh water in the world. In late June, the surrounding area is at its peak for wildflowers and wildlife. The lake supports a flourishing population of grayling and lennock. The legendary taimen, the world's biggest salmonoid, can be fished from the rivers in the area in weights of up to 23 kilos (50 pounds). The region around the lake supports a widely dispersed population of mostly nomadic Mongol people who live in gers (Mongolian yurts) and tend herds of horses, camels, cattle and yaks. We may also encounter reindeer herding Tsaatan people, and wild sheep, ibex, bear, moose, and over 200 species of birds.

The staging area for the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset is Camp Toilogt. This rustic and comfortable facility provides guests the novelty of Mongolian-style living, with environmentally-friendly 'western' comforts also available, such as hot showers, solar electricity and a satellite phone for emergency calls. Locally-grown organic produce is a staple of meals served to visitors and a minimum of food is imported. With friendly, bilingual staff ready to help and professional cooks preparing hearty Western-style cuisine, visitors to Camp Toilogt are guaranteed a unique and enjoyable experience. Participants and families can also enjoy horseback riding, camping, hiking, fishing and traditional Mongolian musical performances before or after the event.

Klaus Dieter Muttke's Race Tips