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From party animal to ultra-trail-running superstar: Trail Blazer by Ryan Sandes

Ian: “You’re going to run how far?”
Ryan: “250 kilometres. But it’s over seven days, though.”
Ian: “And the furthest you’ve ever run is … ?”
Ryan: “42.2 kilometres … on the road. And on trail … 35 kilometres.”
Ian: “Ryan, I think you need to reassess this …”

Trail BlazerWhat does it take to run a six-day race through the world’s harshest deserts? Or 100 miles in a single day at altitudes that would leave you breathless just walking? More than that, though: what is it like to win these races?

South Africa’s ultra-trail-running superstar Ryan Sandes has done just that. Since bursting onto the international trail-running scene by winning the first multistage race he ever entered – the brutal Gobi March – Ryan has gone on to win various other multistage and single-day races around the globe.

Written with bestselling author and journalist Steve Smith, Trail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner recounts the life story of this intrepid sportsman, from his experiences as a rudderless party animal to becoming a world-class athlete, and includes details on his training regimes, race strategies and aspirations for future sporting endeavours.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the adrenaline-inducing trials and tribulations of one of South Africa’s most awe-inspiring athletes, while endurance-sport participants – from beginners to aspirant pros – will benefit from his insights and advice.

As Professor Tim Noakes says in the Foreword to this book: “However much we might think we know and understand, there are some phenomena which now, and perhaps forever, we will never fully comprehend. We call such happenings ‘enigmas’. Or even miracles. Ryan Sandes is one such.”

About the authors

Ryan Sandes burst onto the trail-running scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2008 by winning the Gobi March, a seven-stage, 250-kilometre race across the brutal Gobi Desert. Proving this was no fluke, he would go on to become the first, and only, person to win every race in the 4 Deserts Race Series before turning his attention to the world’s great single-stage 100-milers. A sensational win at the high-altitude Leadville 100 in Colorado and victories in Australia, Hong Kong, the Canaries and Patagonia, as well as setting the fastest known time for the 209-kilometre Drakensberg Grand Traverse, have confirmed his status among the very elite of ultra-trail running.

Steve Smith is a successful magazine editor and writer who penned the bestselling sports autobiographies To the Point, for bad-boy cricketer Herschelle Gibbs, and SuperVan & I, for motor-racing legend Sarel van der Merwe. Steve is also an enthusiastic mountain-biker, having completed several multiday stage races. He is the editor of CAR magazine, and was previously at the helm of Red Bull’s magazine, The Red Bulletin, and Sports Illustrated.

Book details


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