Ultra-distance trail runner Sandes proved he was not a spent force on Saturday, displaying the first real signs of regaining his best form by stepping on the podium at the Tarawera 100km race in New Zealand.
After taking second place in the 2014 Ultra-Trail World Series, Sandes struggled to shake off the effects of glandular fever with his 2015 season taking a major knock.
“After a rough and frustrating 2015 it’s great to be back and racing again, and most importantly feeling good again,” Sandes said.
“Conditions were very wet out there today but the course was really awesome.”
Three-time Comrades Marathon gold medallist Jonas Buud of Sweden won the race in 8:00:53, with Australian David Byrne taking second place in 8:22:39.
Sandes, the only South African athlete in the elite field, crossed the line eight minutes further back in 8:30:40.