Endurance athlete Andrew Porter has set an impressive new solo speed record on South Africa’s tough Drakensberg Grand Traverse, a 220 km (136 mile) route through some of the most difficult and demanding terrain that the country has to offer.
The trail runs up and down numerous peaks, through deep valleys, and across rugged territory that typically takes trekkers upwards of 10 days to hike. Despite those challenges however, Porter managed to do it in just 45 hours and 8 minutes.
You may recall that two South African ultrarunners took on the Traverse last year, which is when Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel managed to complete the trek in 41 hours and 49 minutes. Their attempt took just about every ounce of energy they had just to reach the finish line, and they were working together to accomplish their speed run.
In Porter’s case, he not only went alone and unsupported, he also ran the route south to north, the opposite direction of Sandes and Griesel. This allowed him to be more aware of potential dog encounters along the trail, but also added 900 meters (2952 feet) of extra climbing to his run as well. Despite those challenges however, he still managed to wrap up the attempt in an incredible time.
Just how impressive was Andrew’s performance? Consider this. Back in 2009 he set the first solo record on the Grand Traverse by completing it in 61 hours, 24 minutes, and 11 seconds. This time out he managed to shave more than 16 hours off that previous record. That is a serious improvement to say the least.
To get a better understanding of what this challenge is all about, check out the film that was made about Ryan and Ryno’s run from last year. You’ll come away with an even greater appreciation of what Andrew has accomplished. Well done and congratulations to him.
And thanks to my friend Lisa de Speville for sharing this info!
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