Underberg – After a disappointing finish to his challenge for the 2017 UTD100 title, 2018 will see Jock Green return to the Drakensberg for a crack at winning the inaugural UTD160, the signature event of the Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg Festival of Trail Running, when it starts on 27 April.
It was at the 62km mark of the UTD100 last year that Green called it quits and despite the frustration of not finishing the race that he was in with a shot of winning in the early stages; he has learnt a lot from his experience 12 months ago.
“I know that I have to start slower this year, especially with the event being a further 60-odd kilometres longer,” the Salomon sponsored athlete mentioned.
“There was a lot that I took away from last year’s race and despite what happened I felt that I was in great shape and was just as good as Vincent (Viet) [who won the race].
“I ran myself broken and when I got to the 50km mark I was buggered and thought that I would shrug it off at 60km but it wasn’t to be unfortunately.”
Following on from the difficulties of last year’s race, Green’s experience with 100 Miler’s isn’t as good as he would hope having just the one finish under his belt.
“The 100 Miler is something that I don’t know too well with a finish at Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc the only completed 100 Miler I have on my record.
“I started the Karkloof 100 Miler last year but had to withdraw due to the cold during the event.
“The cold is terrible for me and with the rain it got the better of me so I had to withdraw.
“When I did the UTMB the weather was incredible and so it didn’t bother me at all which I am hoping for at UTD!” he added.
The race will start at the summit of Sani Pass and runners will have to negotiate around 70km through Lesotho before they come down the pass and take on the familiar trail of the UTD100 route to the finish.
“We won’t be too sure what to expect at the start of the race, all I know is that it is going to be tough!
“The altitude isn’t that much of a problem I don’t think, I am just going to have to take it slow off the start line and keep up a consistent speed. I am thinking around 70% of my max will be the right pace for me throughout.”
Despite feeling in good shape in 2017, Green was unable to challenge for the crown, this year though he feels that he has got the right attitude to be in contention at the finish at the Premier Resort Sani Pass.
“I am feeling good, but this year I am going in a lot wiser,” he explained.
“I’ve got one big block of training left this weekend but I am in a good space at the moment and hoping it works out.”