South Africa’s ultra-distance marathon superstar Ryan Sandes will be giving a talk and audio visual presentation on his running career at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival and has requested that all the proceeds of his talk go to Knysna Kidney Patient Jaco de Lange. Ryan’s Monday night talk, titled “One Grain of Sand at a Time,” tells of a running journey which started just five years ago right there at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival and has since seen him become the first person on earth to win an ultra-distance marathon race on every continent. Being at the festival has become something of a pilgrimage for the endurance athlete who jumped at the chance of having the proceeds of his talk go towards someone in need in the town where it all started for him. “Something good always happens to me when I come to Knysna,” says the Sandman who visits the town at any opportunity.
It was Ryan’s last minute decision to join his friends and enter the forest half marathon on the eve of the race in 2007 that became a turning point in his life. No entrees were available for South Africa’s favourite half marathon on that winters night and the best he could do was hustle up an entree for the 42km event. Nonplussed by the fact that he had done absolutely no running training the then 22 year old did not want to be left out of any action. He snapped up the chance to run even if it was for twice as far as his mates – and so Ryan set off to tackle his first marathon. What it was that happened to Ryan deep in our indigenous forest – you will have to attend the talk to find out but whatever it was, it changed his life forever.
Ryan has since raced across deserts, jungles, high mountains, endless plains and Antarctic Islands in temperatures ranging from extreme 50° heat to 30° below freezing. He has ploughed through sandstorms and snow storms facing off against some of the world best ultra-distance runners on the way and put in performances that placed South African Ultra Distance running on the map. In 2011 he stunned the endurance world by winning the USA’s iconic Leadville Ultra Distance Marathon made famous in the bestseller “Born to Run.” Honoured in front of the world’s sporting elite by a feature during the Sport Laurites Awards and the subject of countless TV, radio and magazine articles, Ryan remains curiously unaffected by all the acclaim and firmly grounded. According to friend Mark Collins and fellow trail runner “a more down to earth guy you could not find. All Ryan really wants to do when he is up here is go for a run on our magnificent trails with whoever is up for it.”
Come find out what makes this extraordinary South African tick. Ryan will also be answering questions on his running career, his training and nutrition in a Q&A session. Tickets for Monday night’s talk at the Cruise Café include dinner and can be booked online at www.magnetic south.net. Edward Snell has put a bottle of 18 year old Glenn Fiddich whisky to be auctioned on the night to raise further funds to assist Jaco De Lange.