Beyond Comfort: Conquering the Everest Marathon

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Running On Earth's Roof still image of Everest marathon participant

Running on earth’s roof: the Everest Marathon

Nepal, Himalayas, Everest - these are the words that immediately evoke in us the mystery that nests in the Far East. We dream of conquering the world's highest peak, experiencing the majesty of being thousands of meters above sea level. However, fulfilling this dream requires confronting significant challenges, pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

Imagine the willingness of a person to leave their cozy home, the warm weather, the comforts that they have at hand, and devote themselves to a marathon for two weeks in a place where there is always cold, blizzards and unbearable conditions. Yes, you heard it right, it is the marathon that takes place in the Khumbu region of Nepal that has been held every year since May 29th, 2009, in honor of first-time Everest climbers.

“It’s really by facing this kind of challenge, that you define for yourself what are your own limits and what will be the next challenge. And actually, the next one, it should be just as good or even more challenging that the last one.” - Elyar Abiar, Participant of the Everest Marathon

The allure of the marathon is undeniable: running amidst breathtaking landscapes, getting to know an exotic culture, and connecting with fellow runners from across the globe. However, significant preparation is crucial. Our three protagonists began their journey in Kathmandu, where they not only explored the city but also engaged in vital training and acclimatization, the most critical step. This adaptation process minimized headaches and breathing difficulties during the actual marathon. But these hardships are nothing compared to the delights they have seen during their journey - seeing the snowy peak of Everest with their own eyes, the absence of motorized vehicles replaced by yaks and donkeys on steep roads, and the charm of Namche Bazaar – a hidden gem nestled in the mountains with lively bars, restaurants, and ice-covered towns like Dole, Macchermo, and Gokyo.

This unique marathon distinguishes itself not only through its exotic setting, but also by its recognition of both local and international running talent. By offering separate categories for Nepalese runners and foreign competitors, the event celebrates the exceptional ability of the Nepalese people to navigate challenging mountain terrain. Participating in this race allows them to feel like a fish in the sea.

“For the race there are two rankings, one for Nepalese athletes and one ranking fot the “others”, basically.. the Nepalese are super impressive. They have an incredible technique to run on stones, they go down on bare rocks and you have the impression that they are running on flat artificial turf”. - Mathieu Nohet, Participant of the Everest Marathon

Finally, the much-anticipated day arrived - a sunny morning, with friendly encouragemens and, most importantly, a morning with a lot of determination and enthusiasm. Despite encountering numerous obstacles along the route, including sub-zero temperatures, treacherous terrain, icy river crossings, and even injuries, the participants arrived at the finish line with a profound sense of accomplishment. They conquered not just the race but also personal limitations, proving that they could "climb" Everest under these demanding circumstances.

“For the physical challenge and these magnificent landscapes, I have no doubt that the Everest Marathon will continue to attract a ton of adventure-seeking tourists and local athletes to run on these magnificent hiking trails”. - Gabriel du Chalard, Director

This triumph was only achievable through one crucial decision: to step outside their comfort zone and embrace the challenge, immersing themselves in the raw power of nature.