My apologies for the lack of updates immediately before the run on May 29, during the run over the 2/3 days, and afterwards.
Anyway... much to say, but to the point. I started at 07.00 on Sunday 29 along with the Everest marathon runners as planned, after 13 days hiking and training from near Jiri, up to Base Camp.
Ran the full marathon course from Base Camp to Namche, and then continued after a 30 min break. Two support runners joined. Ended up having to stop for short sleep breaks (3 hours the first night...6 hours the second) over the first two nights, which was unplanned, and not what I wanted to do, but fair enough in the circumstances as the support runners were exhausted. We also had to contend with bad weather, which obscured the trails with rivers of mud overnight. Combined, this put us well behind the record time.
Kept going, across some truly spectacular scenery, some overnight scenes from the mountain tops will stay with me forever, and on to the changeover far down the course at Bandar. Another two support guys took over and we ran overnight this time as planned, the two guys taking it in turns to accompany me, while one crashed out in the following van (by this stage we were mostly on asphalt road). The record time was screwed but still times and a finish to go for.
Alas things came to a stop after 73 hours and 280km, just short of the full 320km in Kathmandu. My legs were still great and could have kept going for another day, but the feet were screwed up. Chose to use some great trail running shoes for perhaps up to 100km on 'regular' European mountain trails, but they blew to bits over the distance and much tougher terrain in the high Himalayas of Nepal. Schoolboy error, and shows my inexperience over such long distances. Had to bail as my right foot was so swollen it was really getting silly trying to continue. All healed up already... though the nerve damage in the feet will take a few weeks more to fix. I swore a lot at the end, sooooo disappointed to have had to stop. Scoffed a few beers and smoked 10 fags to quell the feeling straight away, and then got in the van back to Kathmandu. Lost about 9-10kg over the 3 days, but felt great, physically.
The whole point of the Everest Mailrun Challenge was to raise funds for the Himalayan Trust and its work in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal, the upper area I ran across. The record was the target, the distance was the extreme. To that end, this was a success. We have all together raised several thousand dollars and all of that is going directly towards education projects in the area for kids that otherwise would have no chance. I'll give an update on the final figure when the donations page closes on June 30. We are also looking at trying to encourage more Nepalese kids to take up running, and particularly to collaborate in setting up some kind of infrastructure to support running in Nepal. Big ideas, but lots of very willing and able people doing positive things. This was just a tiny part of that.
I have many people to thank and will message again, but the main one is Shikhar Pandey, at the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon. Without his help this Mailrun Challenge would not have been possible. I have a long list of people to thank for their kind donations, and also a lot of people for their encouragement and enthusiasm throughout. It has been a very, very humbling experience, and I am so grateful for the sustained support over the last few months. I know I've been banging on about this for ages! Met some amazing folk over in Nepal again, more crazy and inspiring runners, all with their own stories to tell, and my love for Nepal and its people has deepened even further. What... a..... place!! :-) Dhanyabad Nepal and all my Nepalese friends!
Unfortunately losing the phone before it backed itself up sucks, as I lost almost all the pics from the trip. Can salvage some from a little camera. Everest was looking particularly splendid, plus I took pics from the school and hospital visits. Losing the scenery shots are a scunner, but can be replaced one day, to some extent. Alas, all the people shots cannot. We all know that feeling. Big regret.
I'll write a more detailed account of the run soon for anyone interested, but I can say I am going back to finish things. That has already been confirmed. Just the dates and timing to work on, plus we are hoping to make things much bigger... to include live GPS tracking, for instance, filming and many more photos.
This was by far the biggest challenge I have ever tried, nothing else can even compare. Found new layers and levels of pain I never knew existed (thankfully only lasted short bouts)..but then once you push through, the body finds ways to keep going. Very curious to learn more about the affects on the body from such an extreme physical challenge at high altitude. In the end, I felt easy to continue, no cramp, no stiffness, no injuries, just buggered up feet. Relative sleep deprivation was fine as well... though there were moments on the third night when it was hard to tell the difference between a snake and a stick, or a house light and a night star.
Thicker shoes and flying solo a bit more to avoid the need for sleep stops, and that record is there for the taking, albeit an extraordinarly hard physical thing to achieve. My respect for the 63 hours and 8 mins has increased, not diminished, but I can't wait to get back at it again....
Many thanks to everyone who has shared this journey with me... Part 1 may be over.... Part 2 is only just beginning... but I'll give folk a break from the tin rattling on here, as people have been so generous throughout! More to come....