Set against one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring backdrops on the planet, the Everest Trail Race is one of the world’s toughest high-altitude ultra-marathons.
From the noisy and frenetic streets of Kathmandu to the isolation of camping under the stars at the monastery at Kharikhola, Nepal and its people cement itself within the heart of every participant of the ETR.
Winding through the remote Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas, Nepal, the race takes place over six punishing days and covers a distance of 160-km with over 25,000m of vertical gain.
“You reach the highest point of the day and you are breathing hard with short shallow breaths. You think you must stop, that you can’t go on, but then you settle into a sustainable rhythm. Your body is adapting to the workload, to the altitude and with that realization you feel a rush of empowerment that motivates you to continue to run with the stunning Everest as a backdrop.”
Terrain during the race is mixed and while daily distances may appear relatively short, don’t be fooled ! Altitude and technical trails make the ETR a very specific challenge and the rigors of climbing and descending have an impact on everyone. A self-sufficient race, participants must carry all they need with the exception of food and a tent. Breakfast and dinner is provided and all the runners sleep in 2-man tents.
Following in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first men to reach the summit of Everest, participants will run through time and history. It’s a breathtaking route that starts in Jiri and follows an incredible route to Tengboche – the gateway to Everest Base Camp – Daily altitude gain starts at 3.000 meters and goes up to 5,950. On the fifth day, arriving at Tengboche the Himalayan backdrop is magnificent with stunning vistas of Everest, Tawache, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lohtse and Thamserku. Nepal will change you… it does! These views are some of the most memorable moments any trail runner can encounter and they provide a wonderful boost before returning to Lukla via Namche Bazaar and the return flight back to Kathmandu.
Temperatures vary greatly from warm sunny days to icy cold nights. Remember, the runners carry everything they need, so, shorts and T-shirts for the day and a down jacket, multiple layers and a very warm sleeping bag for the night. As with most multi-day races, a change of clothes is a luxury and a shower almost non-existent.
The Everest Trail Race is without doubt the journey and experience of a lifetime.
“I’ve done this. I’ve done that. I’ve achieved something that so many haven’t, I may not be the fastest, but I never will be the fastest. I’m not built to the be the fastest, and I’m certainly no Casey Morgan that’s for certain. I’m probably three times the size of him. But what I would say is that I’ve got a dogged spirit and a strong will. I say to myself, ‘Never, ever give up!’ and I don’t give up. Ever.” – John Percy, finisher, 2016.
Pasang Llama (Nepal) won the 2016 race ahead of Miguel Capo Soler (Spain) and Casey Morgan (UK) with a dominant performance, he completed the six-day journey from Jiri to Tengboche and back to Lukla in 22-hours, 04-minutes and 22-seconds. For the ladies’ Andrej Sterle Podobonik was triumphant over the UK’s Jennifer Hill and Sarah Davies.
Ones to Watch 2017
Spain’s Luis Alberto Hernando, IAU World Trail Champion and Migu Run Skyrunner World Series Champion for the ULTRA category, will head up the line-up for the 2017 edition along with two-time Marathon des Sables champion, Elisabet Barnes. But the top-line action doesn’t stop here, Miguel Cabellero, also from Spain, with push Hernando. Portugal’s Ester Alves will once again go head-to-head with Barnes – Alves has beaten Barnes at Costa Rica’s The Coastal Challenge but Barnes put the record equal in Morocco. Nepalese always are an intimidating element to the ETR and now in its 7th edition, it’s fair to assume that a Nepalese runner may take the top-honours once again, but who will it be?
The 2017 edition of the race starts on November 5th and concludes November 17th. Race website and information available HERE.