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The Beauty of the Irrational

Thousands of years of philosophy be damned

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“Try, try again” is easier said than done when you’re racing against a massive, imposing canyon. That’s why we love watching South African ultra-marathoner Ryan Sandes attempt to master Namibia’s harsh 84-kilometer Fish River Canyon trail. In The Beauty of the Irrational, Sandes poignantly reflects on his unsuccessful record attempts in 2009 and 2010 before literally jumping into the canyon, scrambling down a steep loose-granite slope and humping it across the rock-strewn landscape like he’s on fast forward. The film by African Attachment puts the grand vistas of the second largest canyon in the world on full display; soaring helo shots dwarf Sandes as he gallops up and down insane pitches, in many places pulling himself hand-over-hand.

While amazing landscape shots are a dime a dozen these days, what’s special about the video is Sande’s pure, naively endearing monologue: “Generally we always question ourselves. We always feel like we’ve gotta be rational,” he says. “If I get too rational about it, it’s probably pretty obvious I shouldn’t be running it. But my heart says I should run it.” Inspiring? Hell, yes — we are definitely going to cut the grass/wash the car/bath the dog this week.

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