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Ultra-runners smash speed record on Drakensberg Grand Traverse

South African pair beat previous record by over 18 hours
March 28, 2014
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Ultra-running duo Ryan Sendes and Ryno Griesel have set a new speed record on South Africa’s Drakensberg Grand Traverse, beating the previous record by more than 18 hours.

The previous record for the trail was set in 2010 with a time of 60 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds. However, this proved to be little competition for Sandes and Griesel, who completed it in just 41 hours, 49 minutes – only narrowly missing their 40-hour target.

The trail, which stretches for 136 miles through the Drakensberg Mountains, is one of South Africa’s most grueling challenges – known for its substantial climbs and sharp-edged peaks. Runners must spend much of the route climbing rugged ridges and ravines, and even the more favorable slopes are made tougher by patches of soggy marshland.

Beginning in Sentinel Car Park in the north before travelling to the South’s Bushman’s Nek Border Post, the two runners will have seen nearly as much total elevation gain as they would have in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

Despite this enormously successful effort, the run was not without its challenges. Sandes particularly feared the worst after he twisted an ankle just two hours into the attempt. Griesel also has a scare later that day as he became dehydrated, but soon recovered with the support of his partner and the pair made great time as they ran through the night.

Congratulations to both runners on an awe-inspiring effort.

Photo: Henning de Beer/Shutterstock.com

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