Monday, March 12, 2018

Two Ultra Runners Attempting FKT on Great Himalayan Trail

Ultrarunners Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel are up to their old tricks again. A few years back we followed along as they went for a speed record in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, and now they've set their sights on an even more difficult challenge. The duo have embarked on an attempt to set the "fastest known time" on the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal.

As of now, Sandes and Griesel are 12 days into their attempt not he record, which currently stands at 28 days. That's how long they have to complete the 870-mile (1400 km) route which winds its way through some of the more remote villages and mountain regions in Nepal. The record is currently held by Andrew Porter who officially finished in 28 days, 13 hours, and 56 minutes, shaving more than 20 days off the previous record.

Gear Junkie had a chance to catch up with Sandes and Griesel last week and learned a bit about the equipment they're using for the run. For instance, they're wearing Salomon 20L backpacks to carry all of their gear, which includes energy bars and supplements, as well as gear that is specific to the leg of the run that they are on. A 20-liter pack isn't much, but the duo can get by without too much food and water because they are resupplying in the villages that they pass through along the way. They're also staying in tea huts at night as they follow a west-to-east path along the GHT.

The Great Himalaya Trail is less an official route and more of a loose collection of shorter trails have been linked together. As you can imagine, the trail itself remains fairly rugged, although some sections are more developed than others. It also features plenty of altitude gain, as at this point of the race Sandes and Griesel have already climbed more than 35,275 meters (115,731 ft) with more than halfway yet to go.

The entire run is being documented for a potential upcoming film. You can follow the duo's progress online by clicking here. The site contains all kinds of info about their route, current position, and much more.


adventurelisa said...

Heya Kraig,

Andrew Porter is also a South African. He did the Himalayan FKT following a relationship breakup. Nothing like running in the mountains for 28 days as relationship recuperation therapy.

Of interest, Andrew still holds the solo male record for the Drakensberg Grand Traverse (DGT). He did a North-to-South run in December 2009 and set the record at 61h24m11s. He then went back in at the end of May 2015 and did a solo South-to-North DGT for 45h08m.

Ryno Griesel and Ryan Sandes hold the men's group record for the DGT of 41 hours, 49 minutes (their measured distance was 209km). This was set in March 2014. Of interest, Ryno held the previous men's group record of 60h29m set in April 2010 with teammate Cobus van Zyl.


Kraig Becker said...

I knew you'd have the inside scoop Lisa! Thanks as always for the insights. :)