Everest Marathon

4th December 2009



John Armstrong in Nepal, knowing he has a mountain to climb ...

John Armstrong's summary:

Picture gallerys from Kathmandu, the Trek up and The Race


I wanted something to stretch my comfort zone.  Once in a lifetime chance – I was fit enough and had the time and the means to go.I filled in the entry form on my birthday. Total weight allowance was 12kg for the trek.The race attracts a lot of attention from the locals.


Crowds, traffic noise, rubbish, hustle, dust, souvenirs. religions,  street traders, rickshaws ( yes, I had a go), security services, political unrest, strikes and demonstrations,

  • Kath 1-3 We drove into the National park and had a 10km fun run as an ice breaker. Can you see me?
  • Kath 18-21  A World Heritage site around a Hindu temple where cremations in public is the norm.
  • Kath 50 -52 The Shanker Hotel is a 4 star hotel that was our base in Kathmandu. A very selfish oasis in the middle of bedlam.


·        To acclimatize to the high altitude all runners trek to the start under medical supervision.  The medical staff were superb with everyone at all times and looked after me when I had my turn with D&V, nausea and AMS.

·        Trek 1-4 We flew from Kathmandu (400m) to Lukla (2800m) which is the starting point for the Everest Base camp trek. Lukla has a sloping runway to aid take off and landing. Weird and vaguely worrying. Trek 7 Edmund Hillary is a hero here.

·        Trek 6,9 We stayed in lodges for 2 nights before camping for 11 nights. The sun went behind the hills around 3.00pm and the temperature plummeted. It went dark at 5.00pm and this made for long, dark and cold (-10C) nights.

·        Trek 84,85 We had a team of cook boys who were always ahead of the group boiling water (Trek 27) for tea and preparing food. Trek 160, 162 There was also a team of porters who dismantled the tents and carried them ahead so tents were ready when we arrived. These guys worked so hard to earn about £7 a day. In May they earn good money supporting Everest attempts- some porters had summitted several times.

·        Everything is carried by porter or Yak train from Lukla on the trail -no roads.

·        Trek 19 Sometimes the trek was a procession – there were other groups apart from the marathon group.

·        Trek 91 We went to the Everest View hotel – this was the view.

·        Trek 92 Memorial to those who have died on Everest.

·        Trek 142 The village of Phortse is on the plateau with Ama Dablam behind.

·        Trek 139 Climbed Gokyo Ri.(Everest behind)

·        Descend to Khumjung. Ran from Machermo to Sarnassa and felt very strong.

·        Khumjung to Lobuche. This is really the limit of human habitation – altitude & cold. All had a medical here to be deemed ‘fit for EM’. Trek 118-132 From Lobuche I went up Kala Pattar – magnificent mountain views.

·        Trek 127 This is my Altitude PB (Everest behind). A 14km hike and 700m climb was a very challenging day out.

·        Trek 167-169 After the race we returned to Lukla and found typical Nepalese culture in a  Starbucks café.

The Race - 4th December 2009.

The Everest Marathon is in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world.

The start line is at 5184m(17,500 feet), close to Everest Base Camp. The finish is in the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3446m (11,300 ft). The course is a measured 42 km over mountain trails with 1180m ascent and 2800m descent.

The start was below Nuptse at 6.30am. I wore four top layers and 2 leggings knowing it would be slow going at -60C. The first mile is across a glacier before the terrain gets a bit easier and is more like a fell race until half way when it becomes a trail race. By midday the terrain and temperature of about 120 C allowed me to peel off layers. I spun the prayer wheels at Mile 20 and felt quite emotional.

Fund Raising

The Everest Marathon is a charity race, raising money for various Nepalese health and education charities.

My aim was to raise money to support the dental clinic in the Khumbu valley beneath Everest. Western visitors have brought their diet to the trekking routes and the locals have more caries than those locals off the trekking routes. With your support we raised at least £509. Thank You.

Please visit www.justgiving.com for a summary (before mid January)

then type in John Armstrong where it says ‘Sponsor a friend’

then click on everest trundle.

then click on everest trundle.

Relief - John at the finish line, sporting Rochdale colours


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