As most of my readers know, I’ll be setting off on my next adventure – the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon 2017 at the end of May. This post is for everyone who has been asking how my preparations have been coming along, and everyone else who might be wondering what goes into preparing for an extreme marathon.
The world’s highest marathon takes place on 29 May 2017. However, that is the date of the actual marathon only… Reaching the start of the marathon – Everest Base Camp, is a process in itself.
I fly out of CPT on the 12/05 and start a very long journey to Kathmandu (Nepal) with an allowance of only 15kgs (of which most weight is allocated to snacks and medical supplies).
It starts with a moderate 2-3 hour trek from Lukla to Phakding (2652m altitude) on the 17th, followed by a 15km trek to Namche Bazaar (3446m) on the 18th. I will be sleeping in very basic lodge accommodation which is not glamping by any means but more comfortable and warmer than staying in a tent.
On the 21st, we will trek to Deboche via Thyangboche – a strenuous 6.8 km trek at an altitude of 3,650m. This is followed by a 12km trek to Dinboche (4358m altitude) on the 22nd, where we will halt to acclimatise for a day and then on to Lobuje (9km, 4928m altitude) on the 24th.
From here, we will trek 6km to Gorakshep (5160m altitude) on the 25th and take an early morning hike up to Kalapatthar View (5545m), which 536s the highest point of the trek.
The next day, we will reach Everest Base Camp in approximately 4 hours, followed by a rest day, during which we will acclimatise at an altitude of 5364m.
29 May is Marathon Day. The adventurous 42.195km marathon reaches altitudes of 3446m-5364m. I will be running with all my water and food for the day. I will also need to take extra clothes and what I refer to as my mobile ICU supplies in case I run into difficulties.
Over the next two days, we will descend once again, this time at leisurely pace.
As you can imagine, this is an adventure of a lifetime, and I’m very much looking forward to it. At the same time, it is quite nerve-wracking. I’ll be landing in the world’s most dangerous airport – EEEK! – and climb the highest mountain in the world.
I’m currently in the final phases of preparing for the marathon. In addition to cramming in as much off road training and swimming as possible (2000m swim x 2-3 times a week and a total of 50kms running mileage), I’m also preparing myself mentally and emotionally (which I believe is the most important over and above fitness or body strength).
My strategy for the Everest Marathon involves going slowly, taking one step at a time. My goal is not about winning the marathon, but completing it – in one piece! I want to represent South Africa, cross a huge goal off my bucket list, and – mostly, just savour the experience.
As you might imagine, there are many requirements for gear that should go in my backpack in order to not only succeed at completing the marathon, but also to survive in case of emergency. In addition to altitude sickness medication, snacks, toiletries and clothing, these are some of the requirements we must take along.
- Good pair of trekking boots, running or sand shoes
- Sleeping bags
- 4 pairs of normal socks
- At least 6 pairs of woolen socks to be used during the trek
- Rucksack as day pack
- Personal medical kit
- Water bottle
- Woolen beanie
- Down Jacket
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Thermal underwear and vest
- Sun glass
- Sun screen cream
- Plastic garbage bags to keep things dry
- Water bottle
- Stamina or Rehydration powder
- Ski poles (optional) for walking
You can learn more here.
I’ve been sourcing and buying mountaineering, medical & trail running kit and all my favourite snacks to eat at high altitude, when the appetite is most suppressed.
As the preparations fall into place and the date approaches, I’m faced with the fact that this is it! There’s the reality of altitude sickness, as well as many other risks that come with living the high life (pun intended!). Of course, I’m slightly anxious, but I’m also very much looking forward to this adventure.
All the training and preparation has been hard while juggling in family responsibilities, running a business and home. However, I want to thank everyone who has been instrumental in helping me to make this dream a reality.
I’ll share more about my adventure when I return.
#AltitudeRunning #TechnicalRunning #ExtremeAdventure