Underberg – As the hardy runner’s lodge their last minute entries for the 2018 Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg Festival of Trail Running, the highly anticipated UTD160 will add another dimension to trail running in the province when the event gets underway in the mountains at the summit of Sani Pass on 28 April.
A popular name that will be taking on the 100 Miler challenge is that of KZN Trail Running’s Andrew Booth. Booth took part in the inaugural Ultra-Trail Drakensberg UTD100 last year and will be out to conquer his first 100 Miler at the end of April.
“I was put under pressure by a few people and then was helped out by Spurgeon (Flemington) and Matt (Goode) with an entry so I felt I had to give it a try,” Booth said. “I do like to take part in first time things so I was drawn to the UTD160, to go with my first 100km race last year at UTD.
“I enjoyed the experience last year and this year is going to be tough because on paper it is a massive challenge!”
Taking on 100 miles of terrain in the Drakensberg Mountains may not appeal to the majority of your trail running community, however Booth believes that the introduction of another 100 Miler to the KZN calendar can only be beneficial to trail running in the province.
“The UTD160 will give people that are prepared to take part in a 100 Miler something completely different to what you would get at the Karkloof 100 Miler.
“Despite the fact that 100 Milers are quite a niche market, to have two in KZN definitely enhances our reputation within the trail running community in the country.”
The one aim of the UTD160 is to try and turn the race into the must-do 100 Miler in Africa. A positive response to 2018’s event will go a long way to helping them establish themselves as the ultra-distance mecca of Africa.
In the UTD160 and the Karkloof 100 Miler, KwaZulu-Natal has two very different events. One is a flatter, easier run while the UTD160 will see competitors tag the highest peak in Southern Africa, Thabana Ntlenyana at 3482m.
“You could probably relate the UTD160 to Hard Rock 100 in Colorado in that it is at altitude and there are a number of other factors that you have to encounter throughout the race.
“The UTD160 takes place at altitudes of over 3000 metres which is a massive challenge in itself!”