Everest Marathon: Highest Marathon

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The Everest Marathon is a one-of-its-kind marathon organized in the Himalayas at the foot of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest in Nepal. The marathon starts at Gorak Shep at an altitude of 5,184 meters above sea level and ends at Namche Bazaar which is at 3,446 m, making it the highest marathon in the world as listed in the Guinness Books of World Records. Apart from the altitude, the rough terrain adds to the difficulty in completing this marathon which simply means ‘more adventure’.

The Everest Marathon consists of a 42 km (26.2 miles) long track which runs adjacent to the base camp of Mount Everest. The first Everest Marathon was held in 1985. The Everest Marathon is held with a non-profit motive with most of the proceedings going to charity through the Everest Marathon Fund. The Fund has so far raised over half a million pounds and has been active in educational and health projects in rural Nepal. A half-marathon is also organized besides the full marathon.

The next Everest Marathon is scheduled to be held in November/December 2013. 75 places are planned to be opened for non-Nepali runners with ten-odd Nepali runners and a Gurkha team. There will also be non-runners who will accompany the runners as race marshals and medical staff. Applications for participating in the marathon need to be submitted beforehand and application will be shortlisted from all the aspiring runners.

Tour packages that include the Everest Marathon generally involve a longer stay in Nepal so that one can acclimatize to the high altitude. The marathon begins at the site of the Everest base camp and slopes downhill to the town of Namche Bazaar. There are two sharp uphill segments in the trail, however. The upper segment of the track features snow and ice which may or may not recede towards the end of the track. It is recommended that runners aspiring to participate in the Everest Marathon have prior experience of cross-country or mountain running. Endurance is the key to successfully complete the race.

A typical holiday in Nepal including the participation in the full Everest Marathon could cost over $ 7,000 depending on how long you would stay and what type of camping and lodging you prefer. Cost for the half marathons and non-runners are lower in comparison to the Everest Marathon cost.

Sixteen Everest Marathons have been organized so far. Bufo Ventures Ltd has been organizing the Everest Marathon till date. All of the events have been very successful so far. Phurba Tamang of Nepal holds the fastest time for Everest Marathon at 3 hours 41 minutes and 31 seconds. This Everest Marathon record was set in 2012. All the top five runners in the list of fastest laps are from Nepal. Anna Frost from New Zealand holds the record for the fastest Everest Marathon woman runner with a time of 4 hours 35 minutes and four seconds which she set in 2009.

 

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