Ryan Nicholas Sandes “Hedgie” is a South African trail runner. In 2010 he became the first competitor to have won all four of the 4 Deserts races, each a 6/7-day, 250-kilometer self-supported footrace through the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara Desert in Egypt, and lastly Antarctica.
Ryan Sandes was the first person to win all 4 races in the 4 Desert Series and in 2013 became the first person to ever win an ultra trail race on all 7 continents. In 2011, Ryan won the Leadville 100 miler mountain race in Leadville, Colorado, setting the 3rd fastest time in the history of the race and the fastest time by a non-American – it was his first 100 miler.
He is an ambassador of the prestigious Laureus Foundation and special mention about his phenomenal career was made at the International Laureus Awards in Abu Dhabi. Ryan’s biography, Trail Blazer, written by Steve Smit, was launched in English in 2016. In 2017 his book was translated into Spanish – the 2nd most spoken language on earth. What started out as a “passion project” turned into a best-selling book.
One of his greatest victories was in 2017 when he won the Western States 100 known as the world’s oldest 100 miler. At the beginning of 2018 Ryan and a friend, Ryno Griesel, set a new trail running record on a section of the Great Himalayan Trail through Nepal. An eye-watering time of 25 days 4 hours and 24 minutes was set on a combination of the high and cultural route on the GHT. A distance of 1 435km was covered, which the men ran virtually non-stop, climbing 63 721m in elevation gain which is the equivalent of climbing 7.5 Mount Everest’s.
Ryan is a doting father to son Max, as well as their adopted fur-child, Thandi and he has been married to his actress/ business-woman wife, Vanessa Haywood-Sandes for 5 years. People are inspired not only by Ryan’s athletic ability but also his humble and down-to-earth approach to life. He is a highly sought after motivational speaker and is considered one of the world’s leading ultra trail runners.
• Gobi March (China) – 1st www.4deserts.com
• Sahara Race (Egypt) – 1st www.4deserts.com
• Namibia Desert Race – 2nd www.4deserts.com
• Jungle Marathon – 1st in new record www.junglemarathon.com
• Atacama Crossing (Chile) – 1st in and new record www.4deserts.com
• Gore-Tex TransAlps Race – 3rd in mixed pairs www.transalpine-run.com
• The Last Desert (Antarctica) – 1st www.4deserts.com
• 4 Desert Champion and only competitor to win every stage of each of the 4 desert races www.4deserts.com
• The North Face 100 Australia – 3rd
• Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run – 1st in and 3rd fastest time in history
• Racing the Planet Nepal – 1st www.4deserts.com
• Vibram Hong Kong 100km Ultra – 1st in and new record
• The North Face 100 Australia – 1st
• Western States 100 Miler USA – 2nd in and 2nd fastest time in history
• Fish River Canyon Trail – 6h 57min (record time)
• The North Face TransGranCanaria 83km – 1st
• Only person to have won an ultra trail race on every continent
• Patagonian International Marathon 63km – 1st
• The North Face TransGranCanaria 125km – 1st
• The Drakensberg Grand Traverse 209km – 41hrs and 49min (record time)
• The Ultra Trail Mount Fuji – 2nd
• Racing the Planet Madagascar – 1st www.4deserts.com
• Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 3rd
• TransGranCanaria Marathon – 4th
• Western States 100 – 1st
• CCC (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) – 21st
• Ultra Trail Cape Town – 2nd
• Fastest Known Time on the Great Himalaya Trail of 24 days, 3 hours and 24 minutes (with Ryno Griesel)
• Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 5th
• Western States 100 – 11th
• Madeira Island Ultra Trail – 8th