It has only taken four short years for ultramarathon ace Ryan Sandes to rise to the very top of his game, earning the prestigious honour of winning all four of the 4Deserts events. He received this record-breaking accolade after a first place result in the Last Desert event in Antarctica at the end of 2010. The human running machine from South Africa led the 250km event from start to finish, battling challenging sub-zero temperatures and treacherous conditions with ice underfoot on the hilly course.
In 2008 Ryan won both the Gobi Desert and Sahara races, followed by a first place in the Atacama Desert marathon in Chile at the start of 2010. He is the first person to have won all four of the 250km endurance competitions and this guy is only just getting started by all accounts. Having already achieved global recognition for his outstanding feats, Ryan was named Running Hero of 2008, 2009 and 2010 in his native South Africa.
Training for anything up to 20 hours at a time, Ryan says his sport is certainly tough on the body but mental strength is just as important as physical fitness. There’s an air of masochist to this athlete who admits he likes to see how far he can push himself on the multi-day races when his body is telling him no more. Presumably with that kind of determination, the South African runner should go far in 2013 and beyond.