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35th Anniversary Q&A: 2011 LT100 RUN Male Champion, Ryan Sandes

It’s the 35th Anniversary of the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 Run! Over the next few months, we’ll be catching up with former LT100 Run winners to get the inside scoop on the race, tips on training and how winning the Leadville Trail 100 Run impacted their lives.

This week, we are catching up with Ryan Sandes, 2011 Leadville Trail 100 Run Champion.

LRS: What inspired you to run the Leadville Trail 100?

The Leadville 100 miler was one of the first ultra-races I heard about and after reading Born to Run I really wanted to experience the Leadville Trail 100. The race has so much history and is so iconic in our sport.

LRS: What was the most memorable part of running the Leadville Trail 100?

It was my first 100-miler so I was very beat up and the final 10 miles seemed to drag on for a lifetime. The memory of crossing the finish line with a South African flag in hand will stay with me forever. My crew and pacers who were there with me on the day made the race possible for me and each experience with them was very special. Spending some time with Micah True before the race was also very memorable and one of the highlights of my career.

LRS: What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone who is thinking about running the Leadville Trail 100?

Train race specific and if possible get used to the extreme altitude. It’s such an awesome experience so most importantly enjoy yourself!

LRS: How did winning the Leadville Trail 100 Run affect your life? 

It was a really big win for me and a dream come true. Winning the Leadville 100 miler taught me a lot about myself and that nothing is impossible.

LRS: What have you been up to since you won?

I have been running a lot … In 2013, I became the first person to win an ultra-trail race on every continent. I was second in the 2014 Ultra Trail World Tour and set a fastest know time with Ryno Griesel across the Drakensberg Mountains that year. My wife, Vanessa, who rode the LT100 MTB, and I recently had out first baby boy, Max. I also wrote a book called Trail Blazer.

If you want to see more from Ryan’s journey to becoming Leadville Trail 100 Run Champion, check out this video.







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