Everest Marathon is the world’s highest and most adventurous marathon. It is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records. With Everest as a backdrop, it features some tough yet iconic running trails. The marathon has been ongoing since 1987 as a part of the Everest Day.
Amongst all, Everest Marathon is the famous annual event of the Everest Region. It occurs every year on the historic date of May as per tradition. This event commemorates the anniversary of the first conquest of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. Thus, Everest Marathon is also called Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.
The 18th Annual Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon 2020 is happening on May 29, 2020. It is going to be extra special this time. Because at the same time, Nepal prepares for “Visit Nepal 2020”.
Every year hundreds of participants around the world come to participate in this marathon. They trek up to Everest Base Camp. This is also the starting point of the marathon. This is a perfect trip for a keen adventure lover. They get to trek EBC as well race at Everest Marathon.
The start line of the marathon is at Gorak Shep (5184m), close to Everest Base Camp. And the finishing point is at the Sherpa town of Namche (3446m). The total elevation drop in-between is 1620m.
The route goes past the Khumbu Icefall, Sagarmatha National Park, Pangboche, Tengboche Monastery, and other exciting spots. Runners challenge themselves through many strenuous paths. Yet the craze seems to be increasing every year.
Everest Marathon Challenges
Everest Marathon is open to runners aged 18 or above. But, they have to fulfill a certain set of criteria. They should have a strong physical and mental endurance. They need to certify their ability to withstand high altitude conditions. Plus, they must present valid health insurance before participation. Also, the route requires special clothing gears and navigating equipment.
The air at base camp contains 50% less than normal. Thin air, lack of oxygen, and cold temperature makes every step hard. The average temperature in Everest Base Camp in May is 10-15 degrees. In late May, snowfall may occur sometimes. In such cases, acclimatization and proper rest are the ways to oxygenate the body.
Activities of Everest Marathon
There are three categories for Everest Marathon; Extreme Ultra Marathon, Full Marathon, and Half Marathon. Each has its respective starting time, distance, and routes. However, all the races will complete within the daylight.
The experienced local guides, local crew, and doctors will be on the running trails. They will monitor and check runner’s physical health. There will also be an official timekeeper, a team of marshals, checkpoints, drinks/feeding stations, and emergency evacuation support. Every runner gets an electronic wristband to keep track of running progress by organizers.
Extreme Ultra Marathon
It is the longest route in the event with 60 KM of running distance. Extreme Ultra Marathon marks the 60th anniversary of the successful summit of Mt. Everest. It starts sharp at 6 am. The starting point is Khumbu Icefall, at 5356m. This part of the track moves towards Nha La from Phortse. Then, it descends via Mongla to Namche Bazaar.
- World’s highest ultra-running event
- Trails pass through five high Himlayan Passes
- Toughest uphill routes for athletes with extreme endurance
- Different routes than the normal EBC
- Get to enjoy village settlements and nature of Sagarmatha National Park
It is the most popular category in the event with a running distance of 42.195 KM (26.2 miles). It starts sharp at 7 am. The starting point for full marathon is also Khumbu Icefall, at 5356m. The trail is all downhill descending through Gorakshep. It heads to Dingboche, Biber and at last Namche via Kyanjuma.
- Highest Marathon in the world with challenging routes
- Race tracks pass through historical route to Everest pioneered by Late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary
- Cross Khumbu Glacier, Gorak Shep, Imja Valley, Orsho, etc
- Pass through Phunki Tenga, Hillary School, Syangboche Village, and at last Namche
- Choice of enthusiastic locals and international runners
The Half Marathon is the shortest one with the running distance of 21 KM. This is the event exclusive only for non-Nepali nationals. It starts at 8 am from Dingboche to Namche. Mostly downhill, the track is a part of EBC trekking trail.
- Open for Foreigners only
- Runners from novice to veterans can take part
- Shortest Distance in the Everest Marathon
- Great scenic views of mountain ranges and settlements
- Fast, exciting and adventurous way to experience the Everest region
At last, Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon is not just a mountain race, it is an Everest culture. You can’t miss this amazing glory of Nepal!
Did you ever try this Marathon? Can you share your experience?