Report from Edward Ryder
The only thing about the Everest Marathon is… you need to walk there so you can start it. So you’re already pretty knackered when you get there.
So a group of us started trekking from Lukla on May 17th. Staying at tea lodges on the way, the aim is to acclimatise on route, so you’re ready for 2 days extra acclimatisation at basecamp on May 27th, where you switch to tents.
Basecamp is c 5364m high, and pretty impressive with a ring of mountains… including Everest on the skyline. If you’ve never gone to the toilet at -7, at altitude, over a bucket… balancing on a glacier… it’s an experience.The Everest Marathon is really popular with the Nepalis, they leap from boulders, run up and down the hills, all with a huge smile… so they generally win !
Race day on May 29th started at 7am for the marathon, and 6am for the ultra. There is a 13 mile option too. 147 started the marathon.
Unless you’re at the front, the first part of the race involves a bit of run/walk as you’re behind Yaks (and Naks), boulders, ice and lots of other people. The Nepalis have generally bounded off in front.
Though you think it’s all downhill, it’s def up and down, with a nasty 500m climb towards the latter end of the race. As you move along, the scenery changes, from boulders, through to shrubs, and then trees, with stunning bridges and trees and raging rivers. There’s plenty of water stops and stuff and people saying good luck.
Running any uphill is almost impossible, as you’re fighting for breath… but the downhills are pretty cool. Gradually you start to get more oxygen in your body, and things improve !
The last part of the race is a killer… as it’s very up and down, but you can hear the music from the finish line, and you know it’s just around the corner.
The race ends in Namchee Bazaar where there are loads of people making a fuss of the runners, and lots of music and stuff. You get a smart gold medal, which would look great if I had chest hair and ray bans, and a free Everest Marathon tracksuit completes the Brutus Gold look… for those of you old enough to know.
The fastest runner this year came in at 3hr 51 mins from Nepal. The fastest westerner was a guy from Switzerland called Mr. Bernhard Zenger at 5hr 51mins. My nephew was running his first marathon, and came in at 7hr 5 mins. Annoyingly I came in 57th at 8hrs 20, but it was probably the hardest run I’ve ever done.
They do a great runners event after the race back in Khatmandu – which was ace – so many nationalities in one room, dancing badly to Abba.
Winner and 1st Male – Tirtha Bahadur Tamang – Nepali- 03:51:09
1st Female – Purnimaya Rai – Nepali – 05:09:15
For Otley AC – Edward Ryder – 08:20:29
Full results here