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The Himalayan 100 mile Stage race

18/10/2014

About 11 years ago, when he first read about the Himalayan 100 mile Stage Race in the Runner's World Magazine, Dumfries Running Club’s Richard McDougal immediately added it to his 'bucket list' with the intention of doing it to mark his 60th birthday...

So having decided to take part, before he knew it, it was the 15th October 2014 and he was heading for Delhi and onwards to Bagdogra where he met up with 35 fellow runners from all over the world for the first time.

After a day or two trying to acclimatise (as the runners were at an altitude of about 5000ft), the group did their first stage on 18th October. Beginning at 5.30am with a 24 mile run and 6000ft of ascent in front of them, the runners were given a Tibetan blessing as the race got underway. There was a mixture of excitement and trepidation as they ran off but half a mile later, the running had become a shuffle as everyone started the seemingly interminable climb. The only thing that took the runners minds off what lay ahead was the stunning scenery which surrounded everyone and was to be typical of the remaining 4 days.

The second day was an undulating 20 miles, on an out and back route, as the runners became more aware of the high altitude environment. Day 3 was the highlight with the Everest Marathon itself which took the whole group up to 12,300 ft where oxygen deprivation took its toll and the marathon took Richard 10 hours to complete. It was such a relief to cross the finish line at Rimbik. Unsurprisingly, this was a PW (personal worst!) for Richard with his body wondering what it had done to deserve such a severe level of punishment!

Day 4 was a less severe 13 mile section with a sharp drop of 1500ft followed by a punishing ascent back up to this level and the punishment was completed on day 5 with a 17 mile run which started with a 5 mile climb and finished with a gradual descent on screaming muscles to be greeted by lines of Nepalese children all cheering and wanting high 5s as runners headed for the finish line. This was a very emotional moment for Richard who was very proud that he had completed such a daunting challenge to mark his personal milestone amongst especially unforgettable sights, such as watching in awe at 4.30am as the sun rose over the four highest mountains in the world.

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