NAMCHE BAZAAR, May 30: Winning the tenth edition of the Coca-cola Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon was a memorable moment for Phurba Tamang while others who finished the race hours later were equally thrilled to have completed the most challenging race in the world.
The victory was more sweeter for Tamang, who had a disappointing run last season when he was forced to abandon the race mid-way due to injury. In addition, this was Tamang´s third title in four years.
After winning the marathon in one of the harshest terrains, an elated Tamang said that he wanted to complete the hat-trick at any cost to compensate for last year´s failure. "I had to leave the race midway due to bad health in the previous edition and this year I was determined to win the race."
With the victory, Tamang has leveled the record of Deepak Rai, who had won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Tamang had earlier won the marathon in 2009 and 2010.
Photo: Bijay Gajmer
Tamang, a local of Solukhumbu, was called up by Tara Air to participate in the marathon. With the motivation from the airlines, Tamang did not let down his sponsors in the first two seasons and has now completed a remarkable run in the event.
This edition also saw participants of different age groups from across the globe. Youngest runner Narbin Rana Magar said the marathon is one of the best marathons in the world and will leave behind a lasting memory. It was also a great day for Signy Henden Rustlie of Norway, the oldest participant, who celebrated her 74th birthday on the day of the race.
Ryan Wolfrum and Jennifer Walden were the luckiest couple in the marathon as the pair finished in the third position in their respective categories. Wolfrum finished third in the foreigner male category while his spouse Walden also finished third in the foreigner female category.
After the victory, the pair said that they were happy to finish one of the toughest races in the world. "This marathon the most difficult and challenging but it has also been rewarding. We were cheered by the locals which gave us the confidence to run," said Walden.
The pair said that after completing the Everest Marathon, they have gained confidence to compete in any other marathons. "The race is held in the highest altitude of the world and this has boosted our confidence."
Another foreign participant James Scott said the marathon was mentally and physically challenging. "This is my first long distance run."
Scott used to run 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters during his college days. Scott had been trekking around the Everest Base Camp for the past one-and-a-half months before joining the marathon.
Another participant Mitchell Cleasby and his spouse said that the Everest Marathon was one of their toughest races. The couple was on a holiday trip here and had earlier participated in a marathon on the Great Wall of China.
David Vaughan, who completed his 281st marathon, was happy at the finishing line. Vaughan said that he had the most exciting run of his life.
Nepal´s veteran record holder marathoner Baikuntha Manadhar, who was a judge during this event, said that the Everest Marathon is one of the toughest races in the world.
"The foreigners are attracted to this race as it starts from an altitude of 5,364 meters and ends at an altitude of 3440 meters."
When asked why only the locals win the marathon, Manandhar said that the locals are well adapted to high-altitude, which helps them win the race. He further added that a lot of foreigner participants were older and hence could not win the race.