Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Marathon course discription

In a few words I would like to explain the route. There are two Everest marathons, one in November and one in May. Both of them run on similar ground, but the main difference is in the start and finish sections. The one in May starts from Khumbu Glacier (EBC) and runs on a route of: Gorak Shep, Lobuche, Thukla, Dingboche, Thyangboche, Khunde Hospital, Khumjung Hillary School, Syangboche, Namche Bazar following the historical places of the first successful Everest Expedition (reached summit on 29 May, 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary). The other one is running on a lower route starting from Gorak Shep and adding the extra miles in Namche area towards Thame, before it turns back and finishes in Namche Bazar. Looking at the profile and the difficulty of both races it is clear that the marathon in May offers more challenges with the extra time spent at higher altitude plus the "breathtaking" Khunde climb (more than 600m). Most of the runners "powerwalk" this part since it is almost impossible to run after spending so many kilometers running downhill at that altitude. If we go more into details this event is a seriuos trail running challenge: icy and snowy start, loose rocks, boulder fields, narrow paths, zig-zags up and down. Both races have limited number of entries, since it runs in Sagarmatha National Park and the impact could be significant. At this time of year the weather starts playing its pre-monsoon game, so please expect anything (snow, rain, sleet, wind, etc). Majority of the paths are narrow so runners need to be aware of trekkers, load carriers, sherpas, animals, etc. The vista on the course is absolutely amazing - if you can look around and behind you without falling- sights of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Taboche, Lobuche, Cholatse, etc. On pictures you can see the start area, Nuptse wall and Gorak Shep sandy field, leaving Pangboche area, Thyangboche Monastry and Namche Bazar (running route comes down on right side -closest zig zag).

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