Organisers of The Munga, the new single-stage 1000-kilometre mountain bike race in South Africa, have decided to limit the number of teams to 450 for the inaugural edition, which takes place from 3-8 December 2014.
Since its launch on 22 May, global interest in the event has been significant, largely due to the guaranteed US $1 million dollar prize purse, the richest podium payout in endurance sport. But the organisers want the race experience for all teams, regardless of their finishing position, to be of the highest quality, which has led to the entry number limit.
“We want every participant to savour every moment of The Munga. And in order to ensure a memorable experience, we have decided that 900 riders (450) teams is the optimal number for the first edition,” said Alex Harris, The Munga Founder and Race Director.
“We are promoting The Munga as being ‘unsupported’, but this simply means no outside seconding for any teams. Our five race villages, situated roughly every 150-180 kilometres, will offer comprehensive catering for the participants and we want to ensure this is of a high quality. By limiting the numbers we can guarantee a premium experience,” added Harris.
The top three teams to finish The Munga will share US$900 000 with the other US$100 000 being offered as the ‘Underdog’ prize, a lucky draw reward open to all teams that finish outside the top three and within the five-day cut-off limit.
“Since the launch, we’ve been inundated with enquiries, many of which have resulted in entries from athletes from around the world. We’ve noticed it’s not only mountain bikers, but also triathletes and road cyclists,” said Harris. “The big challenge for many so far seems to be to find a well-matched partner.
“This match-up is obviously crucial as the race, even to beat the five-day cut-off, will demand a combination of sleep deprivation and deep levels of physical, mental and emotional strain, all of which can break you down and challenge you beyond what you’ve experienced before. Food, drinks and other comforts will be in generous supply at our race villages and we want to ensure that no competitor has to wait long for anything that he or she needs or wants on arrival,” explained Harris.
Two entries to The Munga will be given at the 2014 UCI Marathon World Championships event in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa next week. The winner of the Elite women’s race will earn one entry, while the other will be given as a lucky draw prize to one of the finishers of the Rainbow Challenge, the Marathon World Championships equivalent for amateur master category riders (aged 30 and older) that will be held the day prior to the Elite World Championships at the same venue.