Exclusive: Interview with Ryan Sandes

Ryan Sandes is an All Things Jabu favourite. He burst onto the scene in a big way last year when he became the first person to ever win all four of the 4 Desert Races. Jabu had a chance to chat to Ryan about his running.

All Things Jabu (ATJ): Ryan first and foremost, congratulations for the epic win of at Leadville, you must be so proud?

Ryan Sandes (RS): Thanks – yeah it was an awesome feeling running the last 100m towards the finish line!

ATJ: It seems every time you run you are winning right now! Whats the next challenge you have on the horizon?

RS: I am heading to Nepal in November to run a Racing the Planet multi day race and then after that I will put my feet up and rest in December. Next year I am hoping to run the Western States 100 miler.

ATJ: Brilliant and Good luck for those! Please keep us posted on how those go? When did you decide to become an ultra marathon trail runner?

RS: Um… after running my first ultra in the Gobi Desert I realised that I really enjoyed it. Before I knew it I was running full time. It’s been a dream come true!

ATJ: You are definitely putting trail running on the map in South Africa. Is there any other South African trail runner that you would back to be competitive on the world stage?

RS: Thanks. There are lots of talented trail runners in South Africa and I have no doubt it is only a matter of time until they make a name for themselves on the international stage.

ATJ: What would you say is the highlight of your career so far?

RS: Winning the 4 Desert Series and the Leadville 100miler. 

ATJ: Speaking of the 4 Deserts, Having won all them, will you be looking to try them again?

RS: No, I do not think so as I feel I have achieved what I wanted to in the 4 Deserts. I like looking for new challenges.

ATJ: There is a documentary coming out about your adventures, when will Wandering Fever be released?

RS: It should be released middle to the end of next year – I am super excited about it and can’t wait to see it.

ATJ: Okay, how do you cope, being all by yourself for all those hours without losing it. Im quite well known for losing it when Im not by myself?

RS: Haha – I enjoy my own company and taking in the surroundings.  The scenery is constantly changing when I am running in the mountains and the time seems to fly by. I love doing what I do and hence enjoy being out on the trails on my own.

ATJ: Have you ever felt like you were losing the plot in a race?

RS: Haha – ya a few times… a lot of ultra running is mental.

ATJ: Your nickname of Hedgie, how did it come about?

RS: No glamorous story unfortunately. I had long hair at school and when I cut it short it went spikey like a hedgehog and people started calling me Hedgie.

ATJ: You are from Cape Town, does that mean you support the Stormers?

RS: Of course – Stormers!!

ATJ: And what other sports do you watch and which teams do you support?

RS: I like watching most sports – rugby, cricket etc. When South Africa is playing I support them or any team from the Western Cape. I also support any rugby team that plays against Australia

ATJ: If you weren’t already a national icon, you just helped yourself with that last statement! What about sports that you play? Are there any others?

RS: I love the outdoors and also do a bit of mountain biking, surfing, paddling and hiking when I get the chance.

ATJ: A sad, but necessary question now. Will you ever move overseas full time to be closer to the races?

RS: No – I love South Africa and I am very patriotic. It’s nice to travel to new places for a few weeks or months at I time but Cape Town is the best place in the world and my home.

ATJ: Absolutely fantastic! Where can readers learn more about you or keep up to date on your comings and goings?

RS: They can follow me on the links below:

Website – www.ryansandes.com

Twitter – twitter.com/ryansandes

Facebook –  www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Sandes/160636047310209

ATJ: Ryan, Thanks for your time! Good luck for Nepal!

RS: Thanks bud!


All pictures are courtesy of Ryans publicist. Photos are taken by Craig Kolesky – follow him on twitter

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