Ryan Sandes

A record-breaking endurance ace

Ryan Sandes performs during practice for the Drakensberg Grand Traverse, set in the Drakensberg mountains, South Africa on March 20th, 2014
© Kelvin Trautman/Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Ryan Sandes. My discipline is ultrarunning. My friends call me Hedgie. I was born on 10 March 1982 in Cape Town, South Africa. My special talent is mountain biking. My favourite food is Bresola pizza or steak. My favourite music is Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Ultramarathon ace Ryan Sandes has earned the prestigious honour of winning all four of the 4Deserts events. He received this record-breaking accolade after a first-place result in the Last Desert event in Antarctica at the end of 2010. The human running machine from South Africa led the 250km event from start to finish, battling challenging sub-zero temperatures and treacherous conditions with ice underfoot on the hilly course.

In 2008, Ryan had won both the Gobi Desert and Sahara races, followed by a first place in the Atacama Desert marathon in Chile at the start of 2010. in recognition of his outstanding feats, Ryan was named Running Hero between 2008–12 in his native South Africa. In 2011, he ran the third-fastest time in history at The Leadville 100, and in 2012 achieved a record time on the 90km Fish River Canyon hiking trail. He's since become the first person to win ultramarathons on every continent.

Training for anything up to 20 hours at a time, Ryan says his sport is certainly tough on the body but mental strength is just as important as physical fitness. He likes to see how far he can push himself on the multi-day races when his body is telling him, "No more!"

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Career Highlights

  1. 2016
    1. 1st Place: Salomon Bastille Day 50km

      Franschhoek, South Africa

  2. 2016
    1. 3rd Place: Tarawera Ultramarathon

      Rotorua, New Zealand

  3. 2014
    1. 2nd Place Overall: Ultra Trail World Tour Championships

    2. 1st Place: North Face Transcanaria 2014

      Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

  4. 2013
    1. 1st Place: Patagonian International Marathon

      Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

    2. 1st Place: Trans Gran Canaria

      With this victory, Ryan has become the first person in history to win an ultra-marathon trail run on every continent in the world.

      Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

  5. 2012
    1. Record time: Fish River Canyon Trail - 6h 57min


    2. Runners World South Africa: Running Hero