No Thirteen Peaks record Sandes before lockdown
The declaration yesterday (Tuesday) by SANParks to close all their parks from this morning (Wednesday) put an abrupt halt on leadling ultra-trail athlete Ryan Sandes’ aspirations to make an attempt on his own record for the challenging 105 km Thirteen Peak circuit in the Cape Peninsula, much of it through Table Mountain National Park.
SANParks’ previous statement that their parks would remain open had given Sandes the opportunity for a final significant mountain challenge before the lockdown from Thursday midnight, and he had planned to depart from the starting point at Signal Hill shortly after three this morning. But yesterday’s media statement, which brought Table Mountain National Park in line with City beaches and nature reserves, put a spanner in Sandes’ works.
“Although it was unclear whether the new restrictions applied to the open access parts of Table Mountain National Park, I did not want to take a chance,” explained Sandes. “I have enjoyed strong relationships with the Park management and want to support what they are doing to conserve our rich natural environment. I also want to support any steps being taken by authorities to defeat the virus.
“I’ve been working out ways to stay fit at home through the lockdown period, so that I can make my attempt on the record at a later stage, and I’m encouraging all trail runners to do the same, respecting the rules and guidelines of the lockdown.
“I look forward to working with sponsors and promoters to enhance ‘fastest known time’ competition along defined routes once we emerge from the threat of the virus, as I believe this has fantastic potential to elevate the sport and participation to new levels.”