Saturday, 23rd February 2019.
Race entries and field size
Entries opened for the 2019 Old Ghost Ultra on Friday June 1st at 7pm (NZST) and are accessible via the link on the homepage of this website.
The 2019 race field is limited to 300 competitors. A 'wait-list' has commenced. Do not be despondent if you are on this list. In 2018, we processed more than 100 injury withdrawals!
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The entry fee to the Old Ghost Ultra is $295 per person. This includes bus transport to the event start line (from Westport) and from the event finish line (to Westport) and also includes the helicopter-assisted drop bag service.
We are a not-for-profit organisation. Our stated aims are listed here. Your entry fee is not used for commercial gain but solely for the purposes of sustaining an important community and recreational asset (being The Old Ghost Road).
Start time and location
Race start will be 6am (note buses will be leaving Westport no later than 4.25am). The start line is at the northern end of Old Ghost Road (4km east of Seddonville) and adjacent to the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge. There is essentially NO PARKING at the start line and as such, competitors are encouraged to take up the free bus option from Westport (discussed further down this page) to help manage congestion. Please avoid unnecessary stress for yourself and others by attempting to drive and park at the start line!
Eligibility for the Old Ghost Ultra is self-selecting. But to state the facts, this event is long, major elevation gains feature deep in the race, 15km is spent at over 1000 metres and you will venture through the middle of nowhere (literally). Unforeseen circumstances aside, we expect everyone who enters to be entirely capable of running the majority of the trail and completing the course inside the cut off times. Just five competitors have failed to complete the event in its three-year history - an achievement worth honouring!
Please be brutally honest with yourself and ensure you match your ambition to your ability. This is not an event to take lightly.
UTMB Qualifying Status
The 2019 Old Ghost Ultra will pursue official qualifying status for the 2019 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). By completing the Old Ghost Ultra, you will earn yourself 4 points towards the 15 points required to enter the UTMB (or 'daughter' events).
Categories for the Old Ghost Ultra will comprise:
- Open male (18-39 years on day of race)
- Open female (18-39 years on day of race)
- Vet male (40 - 54 years on day of race)
- Vet female (40- 54 years on day of race)
- Super Vet male (55+ years on day of race)
- Super Vet female (55+ years on day of race)
The prize list is set to grow, but as a minimum, category prizes will include:
- $1000 for the first male competitor;
- $1000 for the first female competitor;
- Royal (King or Queen) of the Mountain - first competitor to Ghost Lake Hut aid station;
- Biggest improver - percentage-based (not time-based) improvement on last year's time;
- Fastest 'local' (must be domiciled in the Buller district);
- $250 for the 'Spirit Award' (awarded to the most outstanding or inspiring display of 'spirit' during the event) and payable to a charity of recipient's choice.
A range of spot prizes will also be awarded at the prize giving.
Registration and briefing
Pre-race registration will be at the NBS Theatre in Westport between 1pm and 5pm on Friday 22nd February 2019. Compulsory gear checks will be performed at this time and competitors will receive their race pack and event number.
An event briefing will be held at 6pm at the same venue (NBS Theatre in Westport) on Friday 22nd February 2019. Attendance at the briefing is compulsory and a condition of race entry - attendance will be recorded. The event briefing covers essential safety and environmental considerations.
Aid stations will be present at the following locations:
- Specimen Point hut (17km);
- Stern Valley hut (42km);
- Ghost Lake hut (55km); and
- Lyell Saddle hut (67km).
Each aid station will serve as a competitor check point and will have a first aid presence, water, electrolyte drink, bananas and a selection of energy foods. Aid stations must not be relied upon as a sole source of nutrition for competitors. To lighten our footprint, aid stations will not be supplying disposable cups for hydration purposes. You must supply your own drinking vessel(s) for accessing aid station hydration supplies. As such, a drinking vessel(s) forms part of the compulsory gear list. An example of a reusable and collapsible cup can be found here.
Drop bag service (Stern Valley hut)
The Old Ghost Ultra will offer a nutrition drop bag service for all competitors. The race bag you get issued with at the race registration must be used as your nutrition drop bag. You will bring your drop bag with you to the event start line on Saturday morning and deposit it there. It will be flown to the Stern Valley hut Aid Station ahead of the first competitor arriving at this Aid Station and will be recovered once you have passed through Stern Valley and will be available to you at the finish line. Drop bags will be limited to an approximate 5-10 litre volume - plan accordingly.
Race cut off times
In the interests of safety and logistics and out of fairness to others, cut off times are a hard and fast feature of this event. Cut off times apply at each of the Aid Stations previously listed. The Old Ghost Ultra plunges deep into remote backcountry and competitors will not be allowed to continue if they depart any later than the times specified below:
- Specimen Point hut (8.45 am);
- Stern Valley hut (1 pm);
- Ghost Lake hut (4.30 pm); and
- Lyell Saddle hut (7 pm).
Compulsory gear list
The Old Ghost Ultra is a serious backcountry undertaking and competitors need to be appropriately equipped. Below is the compulsory gear list that will be checked at the pre-race registration and may be checked on course:
- Drinking vessel(s) for accessing and consuming aid station hydration i.e. drink bottle(s), hydration bladder(s) and/or re-usable and collapsible cup(s);
- Head torch (and spare set of batteries);
- Seam sealed waterproof jacket;
- Seam sealed waterproof long pants;
- Two thermal long sleeve tops (or equivalent);
- Thermal longs;
- Thermal beanie/hat;
- Thermal gloves;
- Survival blanket;
- First aid kit (minimum contents to include 1 x roll of tape; 2 x gauze pads; 1 x gauze bandage).
The above list is a minimum standard. Competitors should exercise their own judgement about what other items should be carried. Whilst not mandatory, we encourage competitors to consider carrying an emergency locator beacon.
It goes without saying that competitors need to carry sufficient nutrition to sustain themselves for the duration of this event, including any unforeseen circumstances and delays.
To cater for self-supported participation and to ease traffic congestion, bus transport will be provided from Westport to the event start line. Buses will depart Westport by 4.25am on the race-day morning and will leave from the NBS Theatre.
In addition, a bus service will operate from the finish line at Lyell back to Westport at scheduled times on race day. This service will operate every hour from 4.30pm until the last competitor leaves.
The meeting location for the morning bus will be from the NBS Theatre in Westport (the same venue as the pre-race registration, briefing and prize giving). The cost of bus transport to and from the start and finish line is included in the entry fee.
An event prize giving will be held at the NBS Theatre in Westport at 9am on Sunday 24th February 2019.
When you enter the Old Ghost Ultra, you will have the option of purchasing official event merchandise. Ordered merchandise will be waiting for you in your race pack that will be made available at the pre-race briefing.
Withdrawals, refunds and transfers
How withdrawals, refunds and transfers are administered is covered in Conditions 7 to 13 of the Terms and Conditions of entry.
To withdraw from the event, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll action whatever is required.
When you enter the Old Ghost Ultra, you'll also have the option of making a discretionary donation directly towards the maintenance and up-keep of The Old Ghost Road. Or, if you're feeling generous and wish to act now, please visit here.