For the first time in the history of the SkyRun presented by Salomon, loved ones, fans and die-hard trail running junkies will be able to watch the finish of the 2016 SkyRun live via Sportrax. The race is run in areas that previously battled to get a decent cellphone signal, but now through the hard work and determination of the local farmers, the entire race can be tracked from start to finish, with live video of the winners coming across the line.


“Sportraxs is delighted that Chris Istedt and his business Snow Valley Communications have been successful in bringing fibre optic cable to the remote Wartrail district, hosts of the World renowned Skyrun 100km ultra trail race finish line,” says Matthew de Haast co-founder of Sportraxs and race organiser. “This is a game changer for us as a business and the race as we are now able to effectively stream the finish line live. The feed will be available from the time the winner finishes till the final cut off at 10am on Sunday morning 30 hours after the runners started their adventure in Lady Grey.”


The impressive set up in the area could make many urban areas jealous with the connectivity that Chris and his team have been able to establish. “We have built a wireless network spanning from Burgersdorp in the West to Underberg in the east supplying internet connectivity to all the farmers and businesses in the area,” explains Chris Istedt from Snow Valley Communications. “It all started when some of the farmers approached me to help them with two way radio communications in the Barkly East area as we have always used radios for communications in our farming business. I helped them get setup with a repeater system, and from that more farmers from different areas heard about what I had done so they also asked me to help. This grew and grew until we had covered most of the area around us. We now service clients as far as East London, Tarkastad and Underberg so it’s grown from humble beginnings to quite a network.”


In 2010 Chris read an article about a group of people offering wireless internet in the Cape and thought this could be a great option for their area. “I made contact with a company who helped us erect the first few internet high sites to get us connected and from their word spread like wildfire to the other farmers and businesses in the area that this is what you had to have to stay connected,” says Chris. “The areas are very rural so we have had to erect a large number of high sites to cover those areas that are not highly populated. Now thanks to our partnership with TWK Communications we are able to offer even better speeds and ample bandwidth as we have installed state of the art microwave backhaul links onto our fibre network which connects directly to Teraco in Rondebosch in Cape Town. For those that don’t know, this is where the who’s who of internet all come together. This enables us to partner with anyone we choose to supply data and voice, which gives us a hugely competitive edge.”


Chris and his team have placed a repeater on the top of Snowdon which is probably the highest repeater in the country to be able to offer decent communications for the marshals and runners on the mountain for SkyRun, ensuring their safety as things can go wrong very quickly up on the mountain! “With this system and our other repeaters there isn’t a single deadspot on the entire race which I think is an amazing achievement if you take the terrain and distance into consideration!” exclaims Chris.


Thanks to these technological advances, no matter where you are you will be able to be part of the excitement and thrill of one of the toughest ultra marathon mountain runs in South Africa.

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