Video: A Run Beyond the Rational
In 2008, South African runner Ryan Sandes signed up for the Gobi March, a 155-mile, six-stage ultramarathon that traverses China's high and dry Gobi Desert. He was a dark horse, to be sure, having never before run an ultramarathon. But he won every stage, and then went on to win each of the ultramarathons produced by 4 Deserts over the next two years—becoming the first ever to do so. He's also won the Leadville 100 and finished second in the Western States 100-Miler, among others. In other words, Sande is really good at going the distance in deserts and other unforgiving environments.
One such landscape, however, had denied Sandes. Namibia's Fish River Canyon is one of the longest canyons in the world, similar to the Grand Canyon. Like the Grand, it's hot, dry and tough to travel in. In 2009 and 2011, Sandes made a run at breaking the speed record—10 hours, 54 minutes—on the 84km Fish River Canyon Trail but was forced to abandon. Earlier this month, he returned to the canyon with renewed vigor and determination and smashed the record, covering the distance in 6 hours, 57 minutes over five days. See the canyon through Sandes' eyes in this documentary short, The Beauty of the Irrational, produced by The African Attachment.