We did it. New Everest Base Camp Trail #FKT: 23:45:12! (press release linked in bio)
On Monday, I had the privilege of spending literally almost all day running, hiking, and climbing through the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal. As runners, I feel like it's common to say that you "feel like you could run all day" when you're fit. I got to put that to the test.
I left the sleepy town of Lukla, Nepal at 12:06am, woke up every dog (and probably their owners) in the valley for the next several hours, ate 5000+ calories (while burning 11,000), listened to all of the Hamilton soundtrack (and only cried a little), climbed up to 17,600 ft. at EBC, and found a new level of motivation, a new answer to that "why?" question, in order to make it back before the clock struck midnight and my shoes turned into pumpkins.
Seriously, though, it was a special day and though I certainly had moments of true suffering, pain, and really wishing I could teleport the last 15 miles or so, I was and am so grateful for having the opportunity to do this.
Thank you so much to all those of you who were out on the trail: those who gave me a shout and a high five whom I'd met or had heard about the attempt as well as those who gave me a confused smile and concerned whisper to their companions ("do you think he's okay?"). Thank you as well to all of you have helped me get to this point, this day, literally, especially my parents, DW, MW, SB, GK, JW, PR, AF. I have cried with all of you in these past months and I'm not sure I'd be here without all your support.
Thanks to all of you who sent along your words of encouragement, both before, during, and after, from near and far. Your messages mean the world to me and I try to reply to every single one.
And lastly, thank you to the Himalaya Mountains. Someone wrote to me that "I hope you found what you were looking for in the mountains." I'm not really sure I knew what I was looking for at all when I came here, but I found so much. Thank you to the mountains for giving me that space for self-discovery and letting me journey and return safely.
Now, it's time to head back to the USA (for a bit) and think about what's next. There's much more to come.
Pre-run announcement from Instagram:
Announcement! I'm going after the Everest Base Camp Trail FKT!
If I've learned one thing in my twenties (which are about to end!), it's that I feel most alive when chasing something of which I'm unsure and/or scared. And this is one of those things.
The locals have told me (in not so many words) that I'm crazy, stupid, suicidal, etc. to try to cover so much distance so quickly in the Himalaya. But that's what's got me fired up.
I've been romping around these incredible mountains since the Olympic Marathon Trials and - with a spring racing season up in the air - I'm excited to strike while the iron is hot.
The Everest Base Camp Trail is one of the most spectacular, challenging "bucket-list" routes out there.
Covering approximately 110km (68 miles) from a low point at the start in Lukla, Nepal at 2800m (9000 ft), it traverses valleys, high passes, rocky moraine, and snowy forests before arriving at EBC at 5365m (17,601 ft) and then returns.
I've hiked the entire route and between the altitude, the almost 10,000m of vertical gain, and the often brutal terrain and conditions, I can say it's going to challenge me in entirely new ways.
According to locals, the current round trip FKT is held by Pemba Sherpa with a time of 30 hours. I'll be looking to try to crack a single 24 hour day. (There are also ascent only and descent only records which I'll be vying for en route).
To have such experienced people tell me I'm crazy to attempt this gives me pause, gives me a bit of the ol howling fantods. But I know that the pursuit will be worth it, no matter the outcome.
Stay tuned for more. Attempt will start at 00:00am Nepal time on Monday, March 16.