On a rainy Tuesday morning in March, I was asked by KE director Tim Greening whether I’d like to accompany KE’s annual Tenzing- Hillary Mount Everest Marathon trekking holiday in Nepal and compete in the marathon myself.
As a regular runner, I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity so of course, I immediately said yes, however as the initial excitement began to ware off, I started to think… Can I really be ready for the World’s Highest Marathon in just two months?!
I have been running both on trail and road for several years and while I have competed in mid distance races, I have never trained or ran a marathon before. I immediately decided to up my training schedule and created a training plan based on advice from friends who are runners and various programs I’d found online. Perhaps not so sensibly at such a late stage, I purchased a new pair of trainers. It has taken many not so joyous miles to break these in and while I have made a generous investment in a plaster company, they are now comfortable and my feet are ready for the event.
During the last two months I have persevered with my training come rain or shine and I’ve markedly increased the distance I am comfortably able to run. By working and living in the Lake District, I am lucky to be able to train on hilly terrain above and around the surrounding lakes. Whist feeling my legs and lungs struggling up a few of steep ascents on the routes I set myself, I’m able to remind myself that the Everest Marathon from Basecamp (5364m) to Namche Bazaar (3446m) will mostly be downhill…although I know it’s not as straightforward as that!
It has also been wonderful to train throughout springtime and although I am usually out in the local hills in my spare time, I have been training most evenings and weekends and have really enjoyed watching the trees getting greener, bluebells blossoming and new lambs playing together. I have found there is no better feeling than standing on top of one of Keswick’s surround hills and looking downward towards at the town where I live whilst the sun sets.
Now that I’m happy with the distance I can run, I know the hardest part of the marathon will be running at altitude as all my training has been completed over low levels which the UK is only able to offer. I have been to high altitude trekking and mountaineering several times before so I do know what to expect and I see running at high altitude a new and exciting challenge!
Today I fly to Kathmandu and I’m looking forward to meeting the other KE runners and trekking to Everest Basecamp and of course the marathon itself. I am not aiming for a particular marathon time; I think that finishing the race will be a fantastic achievement in itself. Good luck to all the other runners!!
Angela is raising money for the Portage and Rehabilitation Association Nepal (PRAN) and the Adarsha Bal Vikas Kendra (ABVK) school in Nepal.
PRAN is a home visiting service for families with children who have additional needs, from birth to school age. In Nepal, help for children with special needs is almost non existent and PRAN is one of the very few organisations that is making a difference. Read more
ABVK (Adarsha Bal Vikas Kendra) is a school for physically and mentally handicapped children in Banepa, a small town about twelve miles east of Kathmandu, Nepal. The school is run by Mani Shrestha and has about 45 children and older students with severe learning difficulties and physical handicaps. Read more
Angela visited the ABVK school in 2013 and she'll be visiting again just after her marathon, before she flies back to the UK.
You can vist her Just Giving page here.