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Race Report: “Mongolian Adventure: Running in Paradise”

This report is from Bernhard Hagen:

Trail running in the remote mountains of Northern Mongolia is a truly unique experience. The mountains, meadows, streams and lakes are as beautiful as in any alpine environment in the world, but only here will the runner pass by yak herds and wild horses, shaman monuments, Mongolian yurts and horsemen, and the occasional reindeer herd. Most who participated in the 15th Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset ultra marathon a few months ago found the experience to be unforgettable. More than 80 runners from 22 countries travelled to Lake Hovsgol, the so called Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, to run in this annual event.

Swiss athlete Jonas Schenk overcame the mountainous ultra-distance of 100k in 10:44 hours and won the race. The fastest in the women’s category was Sarah Edson from the United Kingdom in 13:55. Neither of them found it easy. Beautiful it is, but the 42km and 100km both follow very challenging lakeside single tracks through woods and over windblown lowlands; steep, rocky mountain passes with spectacular views; river valleys and marshy forests; seas of wildflowers. The accumulated elevation gain/loss for the marathon distance is 2,255 meters, for the 100k course it is 3,365 meters, making it one of the world’s hilliest ultras.

Registration is now open for 2014

Runners with an appetite for a unique Mongolian adventure can now register for the 16th annual running of this event by going to the race website, The run will take place on 6 August 2014. Participants will gather at Camp Toilogt in the race week from 2-9 August – a whole week of exploration with horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, fishing, sleeping in traditional Mongolian Gers – and of course running!

Raising funds and awareness for the 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 to support the culture of the local population via the “ecoLeap foundation” registered in Geneva, Switzerland. “We want to keep this pristine mountain area as beautiful as it is now. That is why we started 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”, explains race director Nicolas Musy. The ecoLeap foundation also supports the local culture, adds Musy: “It is not only the pristine nature that makes this part of the world so special. It is also the unique culture of the nomads and their way of life. The nomads should be proud of their abilities and culture.”

Race Photos

Race Listing

Click here for more details of the 2013 Sunrise to Sunset race.

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