Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel to attempt ‘DGT’ – Drakensberg Grand Traverse

Fresh from an incredible victory at Transgrancanaria, Ryan Sandes will attempt the 220km Drakensberg Grand Traverse with Ryno Griesel.

The Drakensberg Grand Traverse (DGT) is a 220km route, traversed from the north to the south of the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa. Unmarked, the route is extremely difficult and technical and spans parts of the Free State and Kwa-Zulu Natal province as well as the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes at Transgrancanaria ©iancorless.com

Gavin and Lauri Raubenheimer first made the traverse in 1999 in a time of 105-hours 39-mins. With only 3-official records and 15-failed attempts, the DGT is a serious undertaking. Ryno Griesel and Cobus Van Zyl were the last to set a record in 2010 shattering the 1999 time. Griesel and Van Zyl set a new benchmark, 60-hours 29-min and 30-secs.

ryno-griesel ©kelvintrautman

ryno-griesel ©kelvintrautman

Ryno Griesel will return to the DGT in 2014, this time with Ryan Sandes,  “I am really excited to be running the Drakensberg Grand Traverse with Ryno, it’s going to be one of the biggest adventures of my life,” says Ryan. “The route is extremely challenging and the slow nature of the terrain makes the Traverse that much harder. I always want to see how far I can push my own boundaries and for me this is going to be the ultimate test.”

 

Ryan Sandes ©iancorless.com

Ryan Sandes ©iancorless.com

“It will be an all or nothing attempt” Ryan commented after winning the 125km Transgrancanaria. Scheduled for the last week of March, this record attempt will come just 2-weeks after the Transgrancaria. It’s a testament to Ryan’s level of fitness and dedication to the sport he loves.

“It will either be a great training run or a mistake,” explained Ryan “I feel really good and although Transgrancanaria was a hard effort, I feel confident I will be in good shape for the DGT. You have to remember, the DGT trail is very hard and technical, so it is not all about running, it’s about hiking and covering ground efficiently.”

The run will be completely self-sufficient with no support, pacers or crews. Sandes and Griesel must carry all they need; however, they are allowed to use a GPS to aid navigation.

Griesel commented on redbull.com that over recent years the record has moved from hiking to faster and lighter hiking. Griesel and Sandes are the first to approach the DGT from a purely run perspective; sleep will be a rare commodity and thus it brings many elements of self-awareness. Fatigue, tiredness and navigating while still trying to cover ground quickly and efficiently will mean both are tested to the full!

Griesel and Sandes can be followed on www.redbull.co.za/draktraverse

The website will plot their live GPS location onto an online map.

Links:

  • Ryan Sandes – http://ryansandes.com
  • Ryno Griesel – http://www.rynogriesel.co.za
  • Red Bull – http://www.redbull.com/za/en
  • Salomon – http://www.salomon.com/sg/activity/trail-running.html