South African Ryan Sandes is the first person to win all four races in the 4 Desert Series. These races saw him run, unsupported, through the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara Desert in Egypt, and Antarctica. Only 81 people have ever completed all four of these trials, and out of these, only eleven have ever managed to do so within one calendar year.
“Ryan Sandes is clearly one of the top endurance athletes in the world – to have won all 4 Deserts is a remarkable accomplishment.” – Mary Gadams, founder and CEO of RacingThePlanet and organiser of the event
Ryan Sandes also the first person to ever win an ultra-trail race on all seven continents, a feat he accomplished in 2013. Ryan partook of his first 100-miler in 2011, coming first and setting the third fastest time in the history of the Leadville 100 Miler Mountain Race in Leadville, Colorado. This is also the fastest time for the race set by a non-American.
Amongst his accomplishments, Ryan Sandes includes1st places in the Sahara Race and Gobi March (2008), a second in the 2009 RacingThePlanet Namibia, and a first in the Jungle Ultra Marathon in Brazil where he set a new world record. He also placed first in North Face 100 in Australia in 2012 after placing third in 2011. These are only a few of the races he completed and won, breaking records in the process.
Running trail ultramarathons, however, is not Ryan’s only passion. After completing school at the South African College Schools (S.A.C.S.), Ryan Sandes went on to study at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where he was awarded a BSc degree in Construction, and later, an Honours in Quantity Surveying. Besides trail running, Ryan is also a paddler, surfer, and mountain biker.
On a philanthropic note, Ryan is an active philanthropist and is an ambassador of the Laureus Foundation that looks at addressing community issues and giving back to the community by means of sport. Special mention of Ryan’s phenomenal achievements was made at the International Laureus Awards in Abu Dhabi.
Ryan launched his autobiography “Trail Blazer” in 2016. It has been a global success. The book is available in both Spanish and French as well.
“What Sandes teaches us mere mortals is that we are capable of far more than we realise.” – Mike Finch, Editor, Runners World
Ryan Sandes the motivational speaker inspires not only by his athletic ability but also by means of his humble, down-to-earth approach to life. He speaks from experience and is not afraid to say so. The bottom line is that he feels if he can do it, so can others – and he tells you why.
“What Sandes teaches us mere mortals is that we are capable of far more than we realise.”
“I think the most remarkable characteristic is how he has come from absolutely nowhere to be successful. And that means he must have an inordinate mental capacity. I think if you look in his mind you will see that is his greatest strength.”