On the anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, two runners are taking on extreme challenges in Nepal to raise funds for the Himalayan Trust’s earthquake rebuild.
On May 29, 2016, Aucklander Melissa Fey will set off from Everest Base Camp to run the 2016 Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon – the world’s highest running event. On the same day, ultra-runner Jamie MacKenzie from Scotland (pictured above) will attempt to beat the world record for running the 320km Everest Mail Run from Everest Base Camp to Kathmadhu.
The Everest Mail Run was the route used by Sherpa messengers to transport news and letters on foot from surveying and climbing teams on Everest to Kathmandu. When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest in 1953, a runner carried the coded message along part of this route before it was transmitted out to the rest of the world.
MacKenzie will attempt to run the 320km route, which climbs over 10,000m and descends over 14,000m, in less than 63 hours and 8 minutes – the record time set in April 2013.
Mackenzie decided to take on Mail Run challenge and fundraise for the Himalayan Trust New Zealand in response to the earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015. Almost 9,000 people lost their lives in the earthquakes.
“When the devastating earthquake hit, I watched the news of the disaster unfold and recognised places I’d visited in Nepal just two years before. You feel so powerless,” said MacKenzie. “When I was in Nepal I was lucky enough to visit a school run by The Himalayan Trust and I saw first-hand just how much the work of the Himalayan Trust means to communities in the Everest region.”
Mother-of-two Melissa Fey from Wattle Downs in Auckland has been preparing for the Everest Marathon for three years. “I planned to run the 2015 Everest Marathon, but when it was postponed due to the earthquakes, I decided to direct all of my energy and passion into helping the people of Nepal,” said Fey. Since then, Fey has been fundraising to support the earthquake rebuild.
The Himalayan Trust was founded by Sir Edmund and Louise Hillary in the 1960s when they built the first schools and hospitals in the Solukhumbu region in the foothills of Everest. Ever since, the Himalayan Trust has been working with local communities to bring quality education, safe water and better healthcare.
The Himalayan Trust’s earthquake rebuild programme now in progress will see the construction of 120 classrooms, teachers’ quarters, student hostels and toilet blocks at 30 schools, including some of first schools built by Sir Edmund Hillary in the remote and mountainous Everest region.
“We are in awe of the incredible challenges that Melissa and Jamie are undertaking, and we are deeply appreciative of their generosity and support of the Himalayan Trust,” says Prue Smith, General Manager of the Himalayan Trust.
Support their efforts
- Support Melissa Fey at https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/everestmarathonrebuild
- Support Jamie MacKenzie at https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/mailrunchallenge