Sandes eyes Fish River record

Cape Town - Not content with being crowned Champion of the 4 Deserts Racing Series after having won every stage of every Desert Race (Atacama, Sahara, Gobi and Antarctica) the legendary Sandman – Ryan Sandes – has set his sights on breaking the record for the quickest time to run the Fish River Canyon Trail in Namibia.

The record for the 84km trail run – set in one of the harshest climates and terrains – was originally set on the 13th of July 1990 by South Africans Ronnie Muhl and Bruce Matthews – both seasoned Comrades runners – in a time of 11hrs 42min. It was then beaten last by 3 Namibian locals Russell Paschke, Charlie du Toit and Coenraad Pool on the 16th of August 2003 in a time of 10hrs 54min.

Charlie du Toit, a veteran of 4 Comrades Marathons and who has a sub 7hr 30min silver medal finish to his credit, summed up this achievement by announcing that in his opinion it was harder than anything he had done before. “This canyon is not for the faint hearted and an attempt to run it should not be taken light heartedly”.

Enter the Sandman, “A few years ago I had the privilege of running part of the Fish River Canyon on one of the stages of the Racing the Planet Namibia race. The canyon is one of the most beautiful places I have seen but at the same time is one of the harshest environments I have run in. I really battled in the canyon due to the extreme heat and terrain and running in there was one of the toughest days of my athletic career. For some reason I have always wanted to go back to the Fish River Canyon,” says Sandes.

On the 14th of March Ryan will be heading up to the Fish River Canyon to attempt to break the current record. Ryan will be scouting the route for a few days with Russell Paschke and Tinus Hansen from and then attempting the record run on the 19th of March.

“I think this challenge is going to extremely tough but I can’t wait to get back into the canyon. The record attempt will be filmed by African Attachment / Wandering Fever so I will keep everyone posted on where and when you can watch it,” says Sandes.

Joining Ryan on his attempt to run the 84km trail un-aided will be doctors and scientists from the South African Sports Science Institute in Cape Town, along with a couple of enthusiastic journalists to see if they could survive even running part of the distance. Founder of Velocity Sports Lab – Ryan’s title sponsor for 2011 – Trevor McLean-Anderson will also be running part of the route with Ryan.

For more info or to follow Ryan’s record attempt please follow Ryan on his blog on and watch footage on

Pic: Craig Kolesky
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