Ross ready to give it all in Nepal
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 email@example.com.
Nelson’s Ross Philipson is just days away from heading to Nepal for a marathon at Everest Base Camp.