Underberg – 2018 saw Iain Peterkin cruise to victory in the GCU62 at the Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg Festival of Trail Running, but 2019 will see the Pretoria-based athlete up the ante as he takes on the UTD100 starting at 5am on Saturday, 27 April.

It’s been a fairly dramatic rise in distances for Peterkin who hadn’t run further that the 62km he ran at the event last year, but the 31 year old followed that up with a Comrades Marathon and then a UTCT 100km later that year.

“I am in an interesting place right now in terms of my running,” the On Running/Compress Sports athlete said.

“After last year and the distances that I covered I realised that I don’t have endurance issues. I never once hit the wall during UTD, Comrades or UTCT, so I sat down in December and worked out a new training strategy.

“I made the decision that I was going to cut the quantity and just focus on the quality this year.”

In terms of his training he isn’t quite sure how it is going to influence his run next weekend but the Gauteng-based athlete has seen some good improvements since his change in regime.

“I have focused more on my fartlek and my hill repeats, so more intense stuff with less distance.

“This year I have beaten my personal bests for 5km, 10km, 15km and 21km so my speed is improving.

“I think that this training is helping me unlock a new gear and I am looking forward to seeing how it pays off at the UTD.

“I have always finished races at the same pace as I start them so I have been trying to manage the pace between then and I am hoping it will come together next week,” he added excitedly.

The UTCT was the longest run that he has ever taken on, but he comes to the 2019 UTD100 not knowing quite what to expect but excited by the opportunity and the challenge.

“I entered the UTD100 because I wanted to see more of the Drakensberg!

“Golden Gate near Clarens is the closest I can get to the same altitudes and conditions and that is about 1900m to 2200m above sea level.

“I will be arriving in the Berg next week to get myself accustomed to the conditions there,” Peterkin added.

Despite winning the 62km shoot-out last year, Peterkin is going into the 100km version with an open mind and feeling little pressure.

“As I mentioned I don’t know what is going to happen but I am going to just focus on my own race and see how it goes.

“I don’t have any expectations that I will win it and so I want to enjoy the experience and take in as much of the Drakensberg as I can,” he mentioned.

More information can be found at www.ultratraildrakensberg.com