South African Athletics

Sandes to take on Kiwis on their home turf

2016-01-12 10:18
Ryan Sandes (Craig Kolesky/ Nikon/ Lexar)

Cape Town - Following a challenging 2015, Ryan Sandes has decided to shake things up a bit by starting his 2016 racing year with a “short” two-day 160km multi-sport race in New Zealand, the Red Bull Defiance.

Described by those in the know as the toughest, most challenging two-person two-day multi-sport endurance race in the world, Sandes will be taking on this new challenge with fellow Red Bull athlete Bianca Haw on January 23/24 in Wanaka.

“I am really looking forward to mixing up sporting disciplines and taking part in Red Bull Defiance,” says Sandes.

“The course looks really tough with some very big climbs on the run and mountain bike, and I can't say I have much experience at paddling down rivers. Luckily I am racing in a mixed team with Bianca Haw who is super strong on the mountain bike and a really experienced paddler. It is going to be an awesome experience and the course and surrounding scenery looks absolutely breathtaking. I can't wait!”

Defiance sees 100 handpicked teams of two from around the globe race across six high country stations that traverse some of the most varied terrain ever opened to a multi-sport event.

The course is designed by athlete, Braden Currie, and promises to be even more exhilarating than past years.

Athletes will have to trail run, mountain bike and kayak their way across the route, with added activities like abseiling and clay pigeon shooting. 

The 2016 event introduces a new elite women’s team category in addition to elite men’s, elite mixed, and sports category divided into age groups, with a total prize pool of $32 000.

Then, less than two weeks later, Sandes will be putting on his serious racing hat, as if Defiance is a walk in the park, when he takes part in the eighth annual 100km Tarawera Ultra-marathon on February 6.

The scenic course takes runners on a route around four lakes, through many forests and past waterfalls from Rotorua to Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

A total of 1 260 participants, including nearly 400 international athletes and many of the world’s best trail ultra-runners, will all be taking part in this race in an effort to beat the current course record set by Dylan Bowman (7:44.58) in 2015.

“I have wanted to run the Tarawera Ultra for a few years now and have heard nothing but great things about the race,” explains Sandes.

“The race route looks relatively flat and really fast, which I think is the perfect early season preparation for the rest of my racing season. I am super excited to experience New Zealand and it’s amazing people.”

For more information about each of these races and to follow Sandes when racing live, visit the following sites:

Twitter: @RedBullNZ #Defiance


Twitter and Instagram @RyanSandes

Read more on:    ryan sandes  |  athletics

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