Ryan Sandes low on oxygen

2013-08-12 14:15
Ryan Sandes (File)

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2013-08-12 10:14

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Cape Town - South African Ultra Trail runner, Ryan Sandes, has been putting himself through a tough training regime for the last month in the highest city in the USA - Leadville, Colorado.

VIDEO: SA Ultra Trail runner Ryan Sandes discusses running at high altitude in Leadville

The reason for the self-imposed discomfort is to get the necessary acclimatisation and altitude training in for the race he will run this Saturday, August 17, the Leadville 100 Miler.

The race is run over 160km at an altitude of over 3 100m.

"It's like sucking air through a straw up here," commented Sandes when I joined him to see how he is coping with the thin air and limited oxygen.

Sandes heads back to the small town of Leadville to defend his 2011 win of one of the most famous trail runs in the world.

The main climb, Hope Pass, takes competitors to heights over 3 850m. It is very common for more than half of the field to not finish within the 30 hour time limit.

The record for the race was set in 2005 by Matt Carpenter - a time that is said to be completely unbeatable – 15 hours 42 minutes and 59 seconds.

When Sandes competed in this race in 2011, his winning time was 16 hours 46 minutes, the fourth fastest time ever set, and the fastest time by a non-American. The race has just over 1 000 entries – the biggest 100 miler trail race in the USA.

“After the disappointment of pulling out of the Western States 100 due to an ankle injury, I am super excited to be running the Leadville 100 Miler again this year. I ran it back in 2011 and it was one of the best experiences of my life,” says Sandes.

“I have made good progress since injuring my ankle in May so I am looking forward to a good race. The altitude of Leadville is a killer but I will be arriving there a few weeks before hand to acclimatise.”

The town of Leadville was a very successful mining town that many thought would turn into a ghost town when the mines closed almost 30 years ago. It was then that race organisers Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin decided to organise a 100 mile race for the town. Many believed it would never be possible to run 100 miles and were convinced the race would only be famous as the participants would all end up dead.

However, 31 years later the race is still going strong with numbers doubling and tripling each year. There is now an entire race series for the town, including shorter trail runs and mountain biking courses.

To follow Sandes on the trail either visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more on:    ryan sandes  |  atheltics

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