FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kathmandu, Sunday 21st April 2013
Runner breaks own 3-day record for 319km Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu mail run.
British female endurance athlete completes journey in 63 hours 8 minutes.
On Saturday evening at 10 minutes past ten, the British endurance athlete Lizzy Hawker, 37, arrived at the locked gates of Rangashala, Nepal’s National Stadium in Kathmandu to complete the 319km journey by foot from Everest Base Camp in Solukhumbu.
In steadily falling rain she was greeted by a handful of press photographers and was awarded a token of congratulations by Nilendra Shrestha, president of the Nepal Amateur Athletics Association who named it a “stunning effort”.
At 7:02 on Thursday 18th April the internationally renowned endurance athlete began the solo part of her run in the direction of Kathmandu. She reached Jiri on Friday at 6pm where two support runners joined her.
During the journey she rested frequently but slept, in her estimation, for just 4 minutes.
She was the current world record holder for the ‘Everest Mailrun’ the journey taken by those carrying letters to and from expeditions at Everest Base Camp before the opening of the Lukla airstrip in 1964. It is a record few have tried to claim.
Her previous record stood at 71 hours 25 minutes, completed in November 2011. She made her first attempt of the run in 2007 with her friend, Steven Pike, which took 74 hours 36 minutes.
The last Nepali runner to hold the record was Kumar Limbu in 79 hours and 10 minutes set in May 2000.
The route is brutally hilly with more than 10,000m of ascent and nearly 14,000m of descent on a mixture of rocky trails and tarred road.
“The biggest challenge, wondering if would I get to start due to the Lukla flight cancellations,” says Hawker. The hardest part on the run was the two hours at the end of the third day without sleep. “When darkness falls, that’s when you feel the tiredness,” she said.
Her striking impression of the run was “the contrast, from beauty of the mountains and purity of the landscape up there [at Base Camp] to evening rain, traffic and pollution in urban Kathmandu at the end of the journey.”
Hawker, who was named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2013 is well known in the ultra running and trail running worlds. She won the 100K world championship in 2006, set a 24-hour world record by running 247km at the Commonwealth Championships in September 2011, and set a course record for women in the 250km Spartathlon Ultra Race in Greece last year. She is also five times winner of the 168km North Face Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc, one of the world’s iconic ultra-marathon races.
Earlier this year The North Face sponsored athlete won the Nepal’s 100km Annapurna 100 race and will race the multiday Mustang Trail Race later this month before then going to compete in the 24 hour World Championships in The Netherlands in mid-May.
Asked if should would try the run again she said, “I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t,” and added, “A real challenge would be to run up to Base Camp and back.”