The fundamental element setting apart Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel’s Drakensberg Grand Traverse attempt from all of those who have gone before is that they are tackling it with a pure running mentality.
That mindset doesn’t only apply to the way they’ll move though, it translates to their gear, too. They’re taking small 12-litre packs with no tents or sleeping bags and carrying minimum gear.
“We’re not looking at cutting corners,” Ryan says, having realised the need for proper waterproof gear after being caught in severe weather on a recce in October 2013.
“We’re going as light as possible, but at the same time if you run into trouble, you have to be able to get yourself out. It’s a fine line between risk and reward.”
Here's what they'll be carrying.
1. Salomon advanced skin 12L running vest/ backpack
This lightweight backpack will need to carry all the supplies needed to survive the Drakensberg Grand Traverse.
2. Salomon base layer top
This will sit next to Ryan's skin, so it needs to provide ventilation and wicking.
3. Food and nutrition
What the guys eat will be an important part of a succesful challenge of the DGT. Red Bull, energy bars, nuts and whey powder are all part of the magic mix for success.
4. Suunto Ambit2 S
This mini-computer on a wrist will provide the live stats the pair need, such as distance, speed and altitude, as well as a GPS track of the route when the run is done.
5. Black Diamond headlamp
Running at night on technical terrain requires a clear view of what's coming underfoot. To get that, Ryan and Ryno will be wearing headlamps.
6. Emergency space blanket
Lots of warmth in a small lightweight package – space blankets are usually required gear for any ultra-distance run.
7. Salomon Bonatti waterproof jacket
The weather can change dramatically in the Drakensberg so waterproof protection is a necessity.
8. Sense Ultra 3 Soft-Ground
On his feet Ryan will wear Salomon's Sense Ultra 3 Soft-Ground which has a low heel to toe drop (4mm) for closer ground contact feel on technical terrain, light-weight and great grip over slippery grass.
Ryno will wear a Sense Mantra2, with a higher heel to toe drop (6mm) for a more cushioned ride over longer distance since he's a heavier runner.
Both shoes' endo-fit secures the feet in place, minimizing movement inside the shoe to prevent blisters over prolonged technical terrain.