Underberg – The UTD160’s interest has gathered momentum recently with the signature event of the Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg attracting one of the country’s most prominent adventure racers as Robyn Owen lines up her first attempt at a 100 Miler on 27 April 2018.
Owen, who recently returned from winning the Coast to Coast adventure race in New Zealand, is in the process of preparing herself for her maiden 100 Miler, however despite cutting a fairly diminutive figure, the 28 year old is no stranger to running in the Drakensberg.
Owen took part in another Running Man Adventures event in 2016 when she and a number of professional athletes took part in the Rhino Peak Challenge, and being from Pietermaritzburg originally the southern parts of the Drakensberg are familiar to her.
“It was a bit of an impulsive decision to take on UTD160 as there was another race that I was thinking about doing but when we decided to give that race a skip I decided that, with the help of Spurg (Flemington), I would do UTD,” the Best 4 Sports/Salomon athlete said.
“Spurg and Matt always put on a great event and although I don’t quite know what to expect from the 100 Miler, I am sure that the event will be organised excellently and I just love the Drakensberg so I am really getting excited.”
Owen’s adventure racing pedigree continues to grow and grow as the star becomes more accustomed to different events. Her running and canoeing background was a strong base and now she continues to push herself to new heights.
“There aren’t that many 100 Milers around and I am intrigued by longer and longer distances. I did my first 100km race at the Ultra-Trail Cape Town in December last year and really enjoyed that.
“So when I saw that UTD had the 100 mile option I thought that I might as well come up and try the big one!”
The jump from 100km to 100 miles is a significant one considering the terrain that runners will be tackling along the route, Owen’s first 100km experience was difficult but she has an idea of how to go about the 163km race at the end of this month.
“I felt really good at UTCT until about the 65km mark and I battled through the last bit which was probably more runnable! It was tough because I felt like I needed to carry on when my body didn’t want to go anymore.
“I’m hoping in the Drakensberg it will be a bit more hilly without those long, flatish inclines. I think it will be more up and down; so when it’s up you can walk and then when it’s down it’s okay to run.
“With that said I am not entirely sure how my body is going to handle the run, but I am looking forward to giving it a go!” the smiling Owen continued.
The Stellenbosch resident is slightly apprehensive about the altitude factor that could come into play when the runners head over 3000 metres about sea level.
“Coming from sea level into the mountains is going to be a challenge but over 100 miles you are going to have to take it easy in sections.
“I have been up Thabana Ntlenyana before so I sort of know what to expect from that section of the race so I have some sort of an idea about that as well as the rest of the course when we get down the pass,” she added.