Sandes of Time – Ryan Sandes at the 2017 #WSER Western States Endurance Run on IRUN4ULTRA

I recently caught up with South Africa’s Ryan Sandes after his impressive victory at the 2017 Western States. You can listen to a full and in-depth interview HERE on Talk Ultra podcast.

Ryan’s story is one that inspires and it just shows what is possible.

“An impulsive decision one Sunday afternoon completely changed my life back in 2008. Could I run 250km, self-supported through a Desert? Without another thought, I maxed out my credit card and entered a race I knew almost nothing about. The lead up to the Gobi Desert Race consumed me but most importantly it enabled me to dream.”

You can read the full article on IRUN4ULTRA HERE

Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun 2016 – Registration

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The 2016 Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun® became a reality today… runners from all over the world have assembled in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Race website HERE

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A 200km, five-day foot race from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.  From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg deep in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park; this unparalleled journey then crosses the Orange River into Namibia and the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon.  This is the running experience of a lifetime; this is the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®.
Day 1 starts tomorrow, Monday June 13th at 0800. Before the race gets underway, we feel it’s important you get to see the faces of those taking part.
Day 1 43.64km Sendelingsdrif to ‘De Koei’
Day 2 32.13km ‘De Koei’ to Hakkiesdoring
Day 3 39.78km Hakkiesdoring to De Hoop
Day 4 48.32km De Hoop to Wilderness Hot Springs
Day 5 21.3km Wilderness Hot Springs to Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
Race images are available at iancorless.photoshelter.com
About the race:
Early archaeological evidence tells us that the San inhabited the Richtersveld area thousands of years ago. They hunted game (mountain zebra and klipspringer) and gathered berries and herbs. The first Khoekhoen or pastoral people moved to these regions from Botswana some 2000 years ago. Like the San, they were hunter-gatherers, and only slaughtered animals on rare ceremonial occasions.
In tune with the harsh environment, many of the Richtersvelders today are transhumant pastoralists, moving their livestock between stock posts with the changing of seasons. The rotation of pastures has helped to preserve the land from overuse. This is the last place in South Africa where pastoral people live on communal lands and one of the last remaining examples of the transhumant Nama way of living.
The harsh environment of the Richtersveld has through the years witnessed a story of determined peoples with a strong attachment to the land. Early last century declared a “Coloured Rural Reserve”, the land’s ownership moved in 2002 to the peoples of the Richtersveld. In this pristine land, devoid of mining scars and in harmony with transhumant pastoralists, an area of more than 160 000 ha has been put aside – first to create a Community Conservancy, now proclaimed a World Heritage Site.
From a distance you can see rugged mountains, sweeping deserts, a giant blue sky and glimpses of the might Orange River creeping along to the sea. On closer investigation you realise that you are standing in one of Africa’s most diverse and rich ecosystems.
The Richtersveld World Heritage Site sits in the heart of what is called the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot – an ecosystem with an astounding 4 849 succulent plants, 40% of which are found nowhere else.
To be declared a hotspot, an area must have incredibly high species diversity and a high percentage of endemism. It is quite a unique distinction, as there are only 25 hotspots in the world. Even more unusual is that the Succulent Karoo is a desert and is the only arid biodiversity hotspot on Earth.
Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some people dotting along the horizon. Make a startling discovery upon closer inspection when the mirage dissolves into the human-like half-mens (half person) and the harsh environment prove to be a treasure-chest containing the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people, SANParks and Namibia Parks and Wildlife. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where water is scarce and life-sustaining moisture comes in the form of early morning fog – called ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’ by the local people – which rolls in from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, sustaining a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals. A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest, the southern part of this canyon is largely untouched by tourists and remains one of the wildest and most remote corners of the world.

The /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is only accessible by means of a 4×4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi’s and LDV’s do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted.
June temperatures are likely to be cool at night and comfortable during the day. However, it can get as low as 4-5 degrees Celcius during the night and as high as 35 degrees Celcius during the day.
Each day of this 200km, five-day journey will take you on a rollercoaster ride of geological splendour. From the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa, to the infamous giant boulders of Tatasberg, across the green swathe of the Orange River, and into the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia – every kilometer is an experience within itself and will leave you stumped for words to describe your journey.

SALMON SKYRUN package for International runners 2015

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Embrace an opportunity to not only take part in one of South Africa’s toughest races but also be privy to a VIP package that will allow you to experience the journey of a lifetime.

Following on from a successful inaugural experience in 2014, Salomon SkyRun are now offering a very exclusive package for 15 very lucky individuals in 2015.

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The Salomon SkyRun is a true mountain running experience on an unmarked course in the stunning Witteberg Mountains just off the southwest corner of Lesotho. Offering a variety of tough and challenging terrain, SkyRun is a self-supported and self-navigation journey of 100-kms.

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Leaving the town of Lady Grey behind, the beauty and remoteness engulfs each and every runner. It is not uncommon to run for the entire race without seeing much civilization around you except those involved in the race.

BIG NEWS a $10,000 prize purse is available for the first male to go under 12-hours or the first lady to go sub 14-hours 30-minutes.

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View race images HERE

To experience first hand the journey of SkyRun, listen to Episode 75 of Talk Ultra HERE. It is a special show that discusses in detail the route, the experiences of South Africa and has in-depth chat with Gary Robbins who placed second in the men’s race. The show also has interviews with ladies first and second place, Landie Greyling and Julia Boettger. In addition the show brings sounds of SA and interviews the race directors, Adrian Saffy and Michael de Haast.

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An evening in Lady Grey post race allows some rest and recovery before the 3-hour transfer journey to the stunning Moketsi Game Ranch.

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Moketsi is a jewel. A five star resort offering luxury accommodation on a full board basis.

 

Moketsi provides an opportunity to experience wildlife on a personal level that is seldom scene or experienced. Go on safari in custom made Land Rover vehicles, drink a ‘sundowner’ as the sun departs the day and if you are lucky, experience the reserve ‘on foot’ under the guidance of the Ranch Manager, Gustav.

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The Ranch covers some 6,000 hectares (65 km²) of beautiful grassland plains and contrasting mountain landscapes in a unique and comfortable setting for an exclusive and private experience. It may even be possible to run up Moketsi mountain… can you set an FKT?

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Moketsi has a large variety of game with four of the Big Five (including Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard). The varied landscape, range of animals, birdlife and luxurious accommodation make for a true outdoor experience.

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Leaving the quiet seclusion on Moketsi Game Ranch, a 90-minute transfer to Bloemfontein and an internal flight to Cape Town will awaken the senses to the bustle of South Africa’s second largest city. Hooking up with the local run scene, you will climb Lion Head, run up and down Table Mountain.

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By contrast you will relax on the wine route visiting vineyards, watch the penguins at Boulders Colony and chill in Hout Bay with some quality seafood.

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 The Salomon SkyRun International Package is a once in a lifetime experience that is available at an incredible price.

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Package (excludes flights to South Africa)

£975.00 (€1250 or $1750)

Only 15-places are available for this incredible experience distributed as 5 to the USA/Canada, 5 to Germany and 5 to UK/ Europe.

Package includes:

  • Transfer from Bloemfontein to Lady Grey
  • Race entry
  • 2 nights pre race lady grey bed and breakfast one night post race
  • 2 nights Moketsi Game Ranch fully inclusive
  • Flight from Bloemfontein to Cape Town
  • 3 nights in Cape Town bed and breakfast all transfers and transport

The trip starts from Bloemfontein with a transfer to Lady Grey on Thursday 19th Nov and finishes with departure from Cape Town on Nov 28th.

Please note that all arrivals must be in Bloemfontein on Thursday 19th November 2014 by 3pm.

Included:

  • All meals as specified in Package (note race entry includes a meal at race briefing and a meal at finish line as well as Breakfast/ Brunch before prize giving)
  • All transfers in aircon Vehicles and domestic airfares as stipulated in package
  • Area Permit to traverse Conservancy
  • All accommodation is per person on a sharing basis as applicable. Single supplement applies.

Excluded:

All meals not stipulated in package

All beverages except at Game Lodge

International flights: into and departing South Africa – arrival Bloemfontein, departure Cape Town.

How to book:

To book a place a non-refundable 25% deposit secures your place. Full balance is due, on or before 1st August 2015. Please specify your booking country.

PACKAGE PLACES ARE AVAILABLE FROM DEC 8th 2014

Episode 75 – Skyrun, Robbins, Greyling, Boettger

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Episode 75 of Talk Ultra is all about the Salomon Skyrun and South Africa. We bring an interview with the ladies winner Landie Greyling. We also talk with the ladies 2nd place, Julia Boettger. Gary Robbins placed 2nd overall and discusses in-depth his race and co hosts the show. We bring sounds from Moketsi Game Ranch, experiences from Cape Town and talk Skyrun with Adrian Saffy and Michael de Haast.
This weeks show is a little different to our usual episodes.
Gary Robbins placed 2nd overall in the race and he co-hosts providing an in-depth insight into the race, his experiences of South Africa and he even set an FKT on Table Mountain.
We bring you sounds and interviews from Moketsi Game Reserve and race directors, Michael de Haast and Adrian Saffy talk Skyrun and South Africa.
Listen to Hyenas, growl with lions and dance to some quality ‘SA’ tunes.
Experience South Africa….
Images from SA and the Skyrun are available on this website HERE and you can view images from the whole trip HERE
Links:
Website – talkultra.com

Skyrunning in South Africa scoops its first Skymarathon®

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© Running The Cape

The South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) is excited to announce its next sanctioned event, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge, on 26 October 2013.
Organised by Running The Cape, the 36km race is set in the Matroosberg Private Nature reserve, two and half hours from Cape Town, near Ceres in the Western Cape.
With the race distance meeting the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) requirement of between 30km and 42km, and its elevation gain of 2 200m on mountainous 4×4 trails and rocky single track, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge qualifies as a Skymarathon®, guaranteeing a route packed with lung-burning climbs, incredible scenery and testing terrain.
As SASA’s second sanctioned skyrunning race, the event will be southern Africa’s first Skymarathon®, pioneering the way for South Africa’s first ever national skyrunning circuit.
The route of the Matroosberg Trail Challenge will take runners up to the 2 249m Matroosberg Peak, the second highest peak in the Western Cape. Runners will overlook the Bokkeveld, Ceres, Droë Hoek, Koue Bokkeveld, and the Ceres Karoo, with views of the Witzenberg, Cedarberg and Du Toitskloof Mountains.
October weather in the Western Cape often brings surprises, and the chance of cold weather could even give competitors the opportunity to run in snow.
Running The Cape’s Ghaleed Nortje is confident the route will challenge every runner, even the strongest and most experienced.
“For the privilege of having spectacular views, the route will make runners pay – they’ll have to negotiate mountainous terrain, very steep climbs and descents, high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions. Near the top, the chance of snow will be good – a snow-covered track makes for smoother running, but will make the course even more challenging,” explains Nortje.
Nortje sees the event’s association with skyrunning in South Africa as a tremendous boost, not only for the race but for national trail running as a whole.
“I’m really excited about the MTC being sanctioned by SASA, and by the prospect of it forming part of a national skyrunning circuit from 2014. Gone are the days when we trail runners have to drool over skyrunning events in Europe and the USA – our South African athletes can now be a part of that rich experience too, by participating in local skyrunning events,” says Nortje.
Being a SASA-sanctioned event, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge will also enjoy exposure to the international trail running community through SASA’s association with the ISF, potentially attracting athletes from outside of South Africa’s borders.
Defined as mountain running up to or exceeding 2 000m, where the incline exceeds 30% and where the climbing difficulty is not more than 11˚ gradient, the sport of skyrunning has taken the trail running world by storm in Europe, America and Asia over the past 20 years.
Skyrunning, a term coined by the ISF, is a discipline conceived by Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a handful of fellow climbers during the early 1990s, pioneered records and races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps.
Today, skyrunning has grown to span some 200 registered races worldwide, with about 30 000 participants from 54 countries.
Formed in 2011, SASA is an associate member of the ISF, and aims to promote and facilitate the growth of skyrunning in South Africa.
Event information will be posted towards the end of May, and entries will open during the second half of June 2013. For continued updates on the event, follow Running The Cape on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/RunningTheCape)