Marathons are a thing that a lot of people seem to like to do. Running a marathon is a physical feat at the top of the exercise pyramid. It takes months to train for the endeavor. And even then you are not guaranteed to succeed. Legend has it that when Philippides ran from Marathon to Athens to announce a military victory, he promptly fell over dead. Us humans took that as a challenge. Today millions of us run marathons every year and rub poor Philippides face in it when we cross that finish line and then go out for pizza.
Mount Everest is paramount in adventure tourism. Climbing the mountain is outright deadly. It takes years to train to master the ascent into the thin blue air of the upper-atmosphere. It takes a drive, heart, and incredible luck to make that journey up and down without death’s cold grip dragging you into the abyss. Combing a marathon and Mount Everest seems like you’re just asking to die. Yet here we are.
Since 2003, the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon has challenged novice athletes to the maddest, and highest of marathons. Starting at Everest Base Camp, 150 participants run up and down the valleys to Namche, 42 kliks away. They ascend 2,777m before descending 4,579m during the run. So, yeah, altitude sickness is going to be a factor. And nothing says fun like running with your head in the clouds.
For the second year in a row, a local has won the race. Bed Bahadur Sunuwar, a 29-year-old Nepali soldier ran the marathon in just four hours flat. It makes sense given that the Nepali army trains in the Himalayas. But, still. That’s an incredible feat for any human to endure.
The record holder for the marathon is Deepak Rai, who made the finish line in 3 hours, 28 minutes and 27 seconds back in 2006. Given that the current record for a marathon run on a flat surface is 2 hours and 2 minutes, that’s pretty amazing. Adventure by definition is the seeking of danger and life-threatening escapades. You can now add running the highest marathon in the world to that adventure-seeking bucket list.
As an environmentally minded soul, I do have to ask what damage is being caused by 150 marathoners stampeding across the same land at the same time. But I guess that’s a conversation for another day and another post. Until then, happy marathoning!
Via BBC News