Ross ready to give it all in Nepal

The Leader (Tasman) - - GARDENING - TIM O’CON­NELL

Ross Philip­son has ev­ery right to feel on top of the world next month – be­cause that’s exactly where he’ll be.

The Nel­son res­i­dent is just days away from fly­ing to Nepal to take part in a char­ity race or­gan­ised by a UK or­gan­i­sa­tion to fundraise for the peo­ple of the Hi­malayas.

The Ever­est Marathon is listed in the Guin­ness Book of Records as the world’s high­est marathon.

The race be­gins on Novem­ber 27 at Go­rak Shep, close to Ever­est Base Camp at 5184m.

Nav­i­gat­ing rough moun­tain trails in -20 de­gree tem­per­a­tures and half the oxy­gen that he’d en­counter at sea level, the race fin­ishes 42km later at the Sherpa town of Nam­che Bazaar at 3446m.

‘‘There’s no way to get out, so it’s a bit of a team ef­fort to look af­ter each other, even though we are com­pet­ing,’’ Philip­son said.

‘‘There’ll be a few sher­pas who will take off like we can at sea level, while the rest of us will prob­a­bly take a rather long time to run the dis­tance.’’

Get­ting to the start is a chal­lenge in it­self, with a two-week trek al­low­ing com­peti­tors to ac­cli­ma­tise to the high al­ti­tude con­di­tions.

The 55 year old has chalked up nu­mer­ous multi-sport and marathon ap­pear­ances in his life. How­ever, in re­cent years moun­tain run­ning has given him the most sat­is­fac­tion, and the im­pe­tus to en­ter this lat­est chal­lenge.

‘‘I used to be a mountaineer and this has been a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion into run­ning for me - I haven’t been as fit as this since I was a stu­dent do­ing mid­dle dis­tance events.’’

Train­ing six days a week for two years, Philip­son has been coached by Nige Burgess while util­is­ing lo­cal moun­tain ranges like the Arthur Range and Maun­gat­apu Track.

‘‘That’s one good thing about Nel­son - there good tracks ev­ery­where - I can hon­estly say that I know the hill tracks bet­ter than the city.’’

De­spite the hard work and prac­tic­ing yoga for strength, he is aware that there are al­ways risks associated with high al­ti­tude en­durance rac­ing.

‘‘It’s a matter of chance whether or not you’ve got the right means to adapt to al­ti­tude – there have been a lot of fan­tas­tic moun­taineers who’ve gone in to the Hi­malayas and find they just can’t climb, but you can’t do much about that, you ei­ther adapt or you don’t.’’

Philip­son has one fi­nal 60km event last week­end be­fore leav­ing for Nepal in the first week of Novem­ber.

The aim of the race is to raise funds for Hi­malayan hu­man­i­tar­ian projects, and par­tic­i­pants un­der­take fund rais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘Nepal is one of the poor­est coun­tries in the world – this fundrais­ing is for all of those hill tribes, not just the sher­pas and all of the par­tic­i­pants put a lot of ef­fort in to rais­ing funds,’’ Philip­son said.

He has al­ready re­ceived gen­er­ous sup­port for the char­ity from lo­cal busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als in Nel­son.

More info can be found at http://www.ever­est­marathon.org.uk . To do­nate to the race cause, email Ross at ross.phil@icloud.com.

SUP­PLIED

Nel­son’s Ross Philip­son is just days away from head­ing to Nepal for a marathon at Ever­est Base Camp.

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