South Africa, one of the countries with a higher following of trail running in the Southern Hemisphere and in the world, will have two top representatives in Transvulcania 2015. Ryan Sandes, absolute winner of Transgrancanaria 2014 and Landie Greyling, one of its most promising female runners, have both confirmed their presence.
Sandes is one of the best known ZA runners outside of his home country. His sensational win in Transgrancanaria 2014, which he could not enter last weekend due to health reasons, has made him a reference. During the past season he finished second in Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (Japan) and 5th in the Western States Endurance Run (USA). And 2014 was also the year of his outstanding record in the Drakensberg Traverse, with he successfully completed alongside Ryno Griesel in 41 hours and 49 minutes of non-stop running, almost 20 hours less than the previous record. A specialist in 100km+ runs (he was the runner-up at the Ultra Trail World Tour 2014, a competition where that is the minimum distance), Transvulcania will be his first competition in the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) calendar.
It is precisely the possibility to compete agains some of the top American and European specialists what motivates him to come to La Palma. In a statement to the organizers, he confessed to be “really excited to experience the race with Tim Olson, Dakota Jones and Luis Alberto Hernando” among others. “Transvulcania has gotten a lot of attention and media over the past few years, so many South Africans know about the race”. As to the conditions on the island, he considered most important that race day turns up to be “nice and hot”, as he is comfortable in this sort of environment. “Living in Cape Town”, he added, “I always feel at home when running close to the ocean. Everyone has told me how friendly the people are and what a great place the Island of La Palma is”.
Regarding Landie Greyling, at 31 she is one of the shooting stars of the ZA trail scene. As Sandes, she runs for the Salomon International team. She has been on the trails since 2011, although her international debut took off spectacularly last year. In 2014 she snatched wins at the Two Oceans Marathon (South Africa), Dodo Trail Run (Mauritius), BVG Trail Alto Garda (Italy) and Trail des Paccots (Switzerland).
Greyling, nicknamed “Trail Dassie” in her home country, commented that “the island, the villages, the competitors and the vibe seem very intriguing. La Palma sounds magical”. From the comments of her Salomon teammates, she expects Transvulcania to be “a very challenging and unique race, with great support from the crowds. Since I became involved with the international racing calendar, it has been on my radar”.
Photo credit: © Droz Photo