Saturday, 22nd February 2020.
Race entries and field size
Entries to the 2020 Old Ghost Ultra will open on Saturday June 1st 2019 at 1pm (NZST) and will be accessible via a link on the homepage of this website (an entry link will appear at that time).
The 2020 race field is limited to 300 competitors. A 'wait-list' will be maintained for those that initially miss securing a place in the field. Do not be despondent if you are on this list. For the 2019 event, we processed more than 150 withdrawals!
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The entry fee to the Old Ghost Ultra is $310 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 and complementary food at the finish line.
We are a not-for-profit organisation. Our stated aims are listed here. Your entry fee is not used for private 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 2020 Old Ghost Ultra will once again pursue official qualifying status for the 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)
Official prize categories include:
$1000 for the first male competitor;
$1000 for the first female competitor;
$1000 for setting a new male course record (currently 6 hrs 52 mins 45 secs);
$1000 for setting a new female course record (currently 7 hrs 39 mins 02 secs);
$500 for the second overall male competitor;
$500 for the second overall female competitor;
$250 for the third overall male competitor;
$250 for the third overall female competitor;
Podium awards for the first three individuals in each of the above six race categories;
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).
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 21st February 2020. 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 21st February 2020. 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) and gear transfer to the finish line
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 and please only pack what you genuinely expect to need and use.
In your race bag will also be an empty plastic bag labelled with your race number. Bring this with you to the start line and use it to store any spare/warm clothing or things you are wearing but do not wish to run with. You will place this bag in a separate transport container to your drop bag and it will be driven separately to the finish line and be available for you there once you complete the event.
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);
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 4.00pm until 9.00pm. We will ensure that those competitors finishing after 9.00pm get home, but this will not be through a scheduled service.
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. Bus transport is available to competitors only.
An event prize giving will be held at the NBS Theatre in Westport at 9am on Sunday 23rd February 2020.
If you enter the Old Ghost Ultra prior to the December 1st 2019, 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 registration. You will also be able to order merchandise at pre-race registration and prizegiving.
Withdrawals, refunds and transfers
How withdrawals and refunds are administered is covered in Conditions 7 to 13 of the Terms and Conditions of entry. Entries cannot be transferred to another person or a future year for any reason.
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.