Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
12 Jan 2016
1:49 pm

Sandes to open his season in New Zealand

Wesley Botton

Ultra-distance trail runner Ryan Sandes will ease into the 2016 campaign by shaking things up.

Ryan Sandes. Picture: ryansandes.com

This as he gets his season underway with a double appearance in New Zealand.

Sandes confirmed on Tuesday he would turn out at the Red Bull Defiance adventure race in Wanaka, New Zealand next week, and he would compete in his first trail run of the year at the 100km Tarawera ultra-marathon two weeks later in the Bay of Plenty.

The Cape Town-based athlete looked forward to joining 20-year-old compatriot Bianca Haw in the mixed elite division of the two-day Defiance race, which included the unique combination of trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, abseiling and clay pigeon shooting.

“I am really looking forward to mixing up sporting disciplines and taking part in Red Bull Defiance,” he said.

“The course looks really tough with some very big climbs on the run and mountain bike.

“I can’t say I have much experience at paddling down rivers. Luckily I am racing in a mixed team with Bianca Haw who is super strong on the mountain bike and a really experienced paddler.”

Sandes had a disappointing 2015 season as he struggled to bounce back from a six-month layoff due to glandular fever. In 2014, he had won the 125km Transgrancanaria in the Canary Islands and finished second in the Ultra Trail World Series. He was eager to prove he was still one of the top off-road endurance athletes on the global circuit at the Tarawera race, which was included as one of 12 legs in this year’s Ultra Trail World Tour series.

“I have wanted to run the Tarawera ultra for a few years now and have heard nothing but great things about the race,” Sandes said.

“The race route looks relatively flat and really fast, which I think is the perfect early season preparation for the rest of my racing season.”
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