Though he is eager to deliver a historic performance, Ryan Sandes says he will take a cautious approach to the prestigious Western States 100-mile (161km) trail race in California on Saturday.
The only elite South African included in the entry lists for the gruelling annual contest, Sandes was aiming to become the first SA athlete to earn the title.
“I would love to win the race,” he said on Friday.
“It is my dream race to win, but 100 miles is a long way so I will take it one step at a time.”
Having finished second on debut in 2012, Sandes returned to the race in 2014 to finish fifth.
He withdrew on the eve of the 2013 and 2015 events due to injury and illness.
A former winner of the Leadville 100-miler in Colorado and the 125km Transgrancanaria in the Canary Islands, the 35-year-old ultra-distance runner from Cape Town was hoping to add the Western States title to his list of achievements.
“I definitely know what to except and know the course well, so that helps a lot,” Sandes said.
“I am feeling a lot more relaxed this year and looking forward to whatever comes my way.”