Underberg – Seasoned adventure racer Rhys Foster will be running into unchartered territory as he prepares for his first 100 Miler at the 2018 Ultra-Trail Drakensberg® starting at the Lesotho border on Friday 27 April.
The 19 consecutive Non-Stop Dusi veteran’s relationship with Running Man Adventures’ Spurgeon Flemington goes back to their school days and when explaining why he is taking on this immense challenge, he was quick to mention his support for what the event is all about.
“I think it’s just complete stupidity!” he quipped initially. “I did the UTD100 last year and it was such an incredible event that I knew I wanted to get involved and support Spurg and Matt (Goode) because they put on such a great event.
“The impact that their events have on conservation and the support of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Wildlife Act is incredible and it’s another great reason to get behind their events.
“It’s also a new test for my body and how far I can push myself to try and achieve new feats.”
Navigating through the Southern Drakensberg and Lesotho for over 24 hours is something that the vast majority of people would not even attempt, so being a part of an elite club could drive Foster to the finish line.
“The dedication to training and the help that Christian Greyling has given me throughout my preparation has been incredible and I never thought that I would ever do something like running 160km through the mountains!
“I have covered over 1300km in preparation for this so now I just have to avoid getting sick!” he joked.
Running through the night comes with its own challenges, but running at altitudes of over 3000m about sea level means that managing your body for over 24 hours is crucial, an element that Foster is not taking lightly.
“I have to make sure that I look after myself throughout, from my nutrition to my feet to managing the nausea factor that can come from running at such high altitude.
“We had a training camp in Lesotho a while ago so I know what to expect and you just cannot believe the untouched beauty of the country.
“It’s completely raw mountain running and it is something that you will always appreciate,” he added.
All runners set goals before they take on a challenge and Foster is hoping that he can complete the race before sunset on Saturday, having started at 12pm on Friday.
“My coach and I believe that I can do it in 30 hours which means that I will only spend one night out on the route.
“I would be really happy with that but the first goal is to get across the line and finish the race!
“To my knowledge I am probably going to be the heaviest guy in the race weighing between 95kg and 100kg so I think Spurg and Matt need to introduce a buffalo or eland category for the heavy guys!” Foster mentioned light heartedly.