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The highest marathon in the world

History of the Race

Until 1997 the race was held every two years in November and the trek started and finished in Jiri. In 1999 we decided to hold the race every 18 months, so that races could alternate between autumn and spring. There were spring races in 1999 and 2002. Because of political unrest in Nepal in 2002, it was considered safer to fly into Lukla rather than walk in from the roadhead at Jiri. This provided an extra week’s training and acclimatisation in the Gokyo valley. Subsequently the race  reverted to being held in November, every other year.

 

runner1985    

The idea of the Everest Marathon was born in 1985 when Tony Hunt and Jan Turner from Britain organised an impromptu race from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche monastery and back.

1987 

It took two years to organise the first race in 1987 when the course was measured in the worst snow conditions for over 50 years. Despite dire predictions from medical and sports experts about running at high altitude, the event was a huge success and marked a first in athletic history. 45 runners from 5 countries.

1989 

73 runners from 9 countries. Winner Jack Maitland (Scotland) set a record of 3.59.04 which was not broken until 1999.

1991 

69 runners from 11 countries.

1993 

72 runners from 13 countries. Ray Brown (New Zealand) set the veterans’ record of 4.28.38. Pierre André Gobet (Switzerland) won the race for a second time but failed to beat Jack’s record. Hari Roka (Nepal) came second.

1995 

71 runners from 12 countries. Freak snows and avalanches in early November prevented us from reaching the start and only a half marathon could be run. Hari Roka (Nepal) came second again.

1997 

88 runners from 14 countries. Anne Stentiford (UK) set the ladies’ record of 5.16.03 which was not broken until 2007. Hari Roka became the first Nepali winner.

1999 

74 runners from 9 countries. The first spring race. Hari Roka won again and finally broke Jack Maitland’s record in 3.56.10. Dawn Kenwright became the first person to win the ladies’ race twice.

2000 

67 runners from 13 countries. Hari Roka won the race for a third time and broke his own 1999 record in 3.50.23.

2002 

50 runners from 12 countries. Local boy Pasang Temba Sherpa won the race in 3.59 37, one second ahead of Nah Bahadur Shah: the closest finish yet!

2003 

60 runners from 6 countries. First was Uttar Kumar Rai in 4.01.44, having been 7th in both 2000 and 2003. Hari Roka was first veteran but still holds the race record.

2005 

80 runners from 9 countries. Tshering Lama Yolma (21) won the race in 3.52.25: a very talented performance. He actually broke Hari Roka’s record but was penalised for breaking the minimum kit rule, as did most of the Nepalese runners. 

2007 

87 runners from 10 countries including an entertaining contingent of 12 runners from New Zealand. Although the men did not break any records, three ‘new’ ladies entered the top 5 ladies’ results and Angela Mudge smashed Anne Stentiford’s record by 14 minutes.

2009 

78 runners from 14 countries. Deepak Raj Rai was the winner (3.59.31) and enters the All Time List with Sudeep Kulung Rai. Anna Frost from New Zealand now holds the Ladies’ Record in an unbelievable time of 4.35.04 (6th place overall). There are now 4 ladies entering the All Time Results List. Our champion and record holder, Hari Roka, did a sterling job in the sweep team.

2011

85 runners from 16 countries.   After 11 years, Hari Roka’s record of 3.50.23 was broken by Ram Kumar Raj Bhandari in 3.47.38.   First lady was Chhechee Sherpa in 5.06.15, now third in the All Time List;  just a week before she had won a gruelling ultramarathon!   Bruce Hall (GB) was the first foreigner home in 5.55.47 in 21st place and was also the second veteran.

2013 

65 runners from 15 countries.   Ram Kumar Raj Bhandari smashed his own 2011 record in 3.40.43 and Bim Bahadur Gurung came second in 3.45.20.   First non-Neapli runner was Malcolm Attard from Malta in 5.47.22 (13th place).   In the over-60s class Brent Weigner (USA) finished in 7.47.22 (33rd place). The weather was remarkably warm and sunny with no snow this year!

2015 

Mainly because of the two major earthquakes in Nepal earlier in the year, there were only 52 runners from 7 countries.  Winner, Bhim Gurung – 3.42.36, is now second in the all time results list;  Sudeep Khulung Rai was second in 3.55.25 and is now placed 7th in the All Time List.  Simon Grimstrup (Denmark) was the first foreigner in 8th place (4.53.46).  Mrs Louise Voghel from Canada put in a remarkable performance being the first supervet (over 60) in 22nd place (6.56.02).

2017 

50 runners from 9 countries, but only 40 finishers due to a gastric bug in Gorak Shep.  Sunam Kulung’s winning time of 3.48.16 places him 5th in the All Time List.  Grandmother Ang Dami Sherpa (49) was the First Lady Veteran in her 4th race.  Franck Lasfargues (France – 41) was the first foreign runner and First Male Veteran in 13th place (5.49.29).

 

Runners have come from:

UK, Nepal, Eire, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Malta, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, USA, Canada, Bermuda, Brazil, Israel,  South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, China, Malaysia, Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia and the Seychelles.

The Marathon

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