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31/05/2018 09:28 SAST | Updated 31/05/2018 09:28 SAST

SA Climber Who Just Attempted Everest Without Oxygen Will Run Comrades... And Then Climb Kilimanjaro!

The 47-year-old, who climbed to an altitude of 8,000 metres without oxygen, returned to SA on Thursday to a hero's welcome.

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South African mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane returned to South Africa on Thursday morning after an unprecedented attempt to summit Mount Everest... without oxygen.

Not resting on his laurels, he will take part in his ninth Comrades Marathon on June 10, and two weeks after that, he plans to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

"I'm starting my 9th Comrades race and I wouldn't miss it. I'm hoping next year I run my 10th, I wanted to walk off Everest and come and run it"

This was the 47-year-old's third expedition to Earth's highest mountain above sea level and he managed to climb to an altitude of 8,000 metres.

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Vilane became the first black African to summit Mount Everest in 2003.

After touching down at OR Tambo International Airport, he told eNCA: "It is amazing and I am very grateful for all these people who have come here to welcome me, and see me as I arrive. It always means a lot, it is what keeps us going, seeing people who love you, support you and look up to you as their encouragement and motivation"

"I'm starting my 9th Comrades race and I wouldn't miss it. I'm hoping next year I run my 10th, I wanted to walk off Everest and come and run it.

"I have prepared myself, it is a personal challenge, I know it can be done, but I haven't done it yet. So I have to do it and lead the way."

Rogan Ward / Reuters

Vilane is doing all three expeditions — Mount Everest, the Comrades Marathon and Mount Kilimanjaro — to raise funds for his "Comrades For Girls" initiative, with the money going towards girls' education.

Vilane, who was close to the late racing car driver Gugu Zulu, has been climbing mountains since 1996.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters