I have arrived at Leadville (3000m alt) to ‘mule’ Ryan for 10.5miles of his 100miles over Hope(less) Pass – I hope he doesn’t drop me!


South African, Ryan Sandes burst onto the ultra scene in 2008 by winning the Gobi March as part of the 4 Deserts race series. He then went all the way in 2010 by winning all four races in one year and thereputation as a desert specialist and the nickname “Sandman”.This will be Ryan’s first 100 mile race, a big change from the multi-day stage races that he normally competes in. Ryan has been in Leadville since the beginning of july to acclimate to the altitude and get some good training done on the actual race course.

« For me, ultra running is a personal quest to find out more about myself as a person. Running 100-milers is my next goal, and it is going to be a major challenge – both physically and mentally. »

To prepare Leadville, Ryan compete in Australia at the NF100 in may, finishing 3rd on 100Km behind two specialists, Kilian Jornet and François D’Haene. Then, he finish 4th at the Zugspitz Trail in Germany, first 100km in the mountain for Ryan. Big experiences for managing Leadville now. Leadville will be the main objectif of the season for Ryan.

« Too many people these days complain their lives are boring or they do not like their jobs, and so forth. We are all in charge of our own destiny, and my advice is to try something new and exciting that will challenge you. »

Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon (aka The Race Across The Sky or the LT100) is an ultramarathon held annually on trails and dirt roads near Leadville, Colorado, through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. First run in 1983, runners in the race climb and descend 15,600 feet (4,800 m), with elevations ranging between 9,200-12,620 feet. It is common for less than half the starters to complete the race within the 30 hour time limit. The course is a 50-mile (80 km) out-and-back dogleg, starting at 10,200 feet (3,100 m). The centerpiece of the course is the climb up to Hope Pass at 12,620 feet (3,850 m), encountered on both the outbound trek and on the return.

« Do not be scared to fail, as this is often part of the journey to achieving your end goal. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed a number of times before getting it right. You will be surprised by what you can achieve with a bit of passion and drive! »

Leadville was also the venue for the American debut of the Tarahumara runners of Mexico. Tarahumara teams competed in the Leadville 100 in 1993 and 1994 and won the event outright. In 1993, 52 year-old Tarahumara runner Victoriano Churro came in first, followed by his 41 year-old teammate Cerrildo in second. In 1994 a five-man Tarahumara team took on Ann Trason in a much-publicized race in the ultra community. 25 year-old Tarahumara runner Juan Herrera won in a record time of 17:40 that stood for 11 years until Matt Carpenter’s record-breaking run in 2005. Trason’s time of 18:06 was good for second place overall and is still the current course record for female runners.

Matt Carpenter is the current course record holder. His time of 15 hours and 42 minutes in 2005 shattered the previous Leadville Trail 100 record. The publisher of Colorado Runner magazine, Derek Griffiths, said afterwards, “It was a perfect race for him. He finished in daylight for crying out loud — no one has ever done that before. I think he has just raised the bar of ultra racing to a whole new level.”

Ryan love his experience in the States. he also had the privilege of meeting trail running legend Scott Juerk and Micah True aka Caballo Blanco – both from the book “Born to Run”.



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