The Kailiash Centre is one of two establishments for orphaned and deprived children supported by the Himalayan Youth Foundation UK and currently meets the needs of 110 youngsters aged 7-17, providing them a home, education and medical care. COINS Foundation sponsors 5 students there as well as providing various grants that have enabled the installation of solar panels, computer equipment and, more recently, investing in their new accommodation block and the purchase of a new school bus.
Students are provided with opportunities they previously wouldn’t have had and as a result they strive to be the best that they can be – by sponsoring a child, you could help them to realise their potential.
The annual Everest Marathon, the world’s highest Marathon successfully finished on 29th May. I am sure you all know that this marathon is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records, as the highest marathon in the world. A number of runners determined to complete it at all costs from various countries of the world and local Nepalese runners participate in this competitive and high altitude challenging race. The race started from Gorak shep near to Everest base camp at 5184m and finished at Namche Bazaar at 3446m, which covers 42km at point.
I, Prena Senchury, was one of the participants in the marathon and I was the youngest runner amongst many. For acclimatisation, people had already arrived a month earlier while for us, our group from Kailash went there only a week before the event. We flew to Lukla from Kathmandu and from there we went on foot to Everest base camp. This took us seven days; well it also became fantastic training opportunity for us. It was quite challenging for the group, sometimes having to walk for a whole day, only having a break for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each night we stayed at a hotel. Sometimes we stayed at same hotel for two nights but most nights were in different locations. We walked for at least three hours or more.
The trek to base camp was an amazing experience for all of us. We enjoyed the trek by singing, dancing, playing music and keeping our group positive. I was amazed to see the variety of delicious foods and facilities that exist in this area above the height of 3000km where even transportation is very difficult. The people who live in the area are very hardworking and determined to do anything and focus on making other people happy with their different services. It is amazing to witness how people live there with such a breath-taking scenery but harsh conditions. Everest Trek is an amazing choice for anyone who wants to spend their long holidays. We learnt a lot and we will be challenging the nature with its altitude by being strong and healthy.
Before the day of marathon all the participants stayed for a night at Everest base camp. I felt very happy and relaxed to reach there and to enjoy the vampire-white mountains. When travelling to Base Camp a wall of snow came crashing down, this was a quite scary moment but luckily, we were in a safe distance. As we came closer to the base camp, the air became arctic cold. It was astonishing for us to see the breakfast, lunch and dinner provided at the base camp. To such extreme environment people served us food and cooked for us with such generosity for which I am very thankful. Camping was a little uncomfortable for us because we had to sleep where the tent is placed over the ice rocks maintaining the level. It was very cold. We slept inside the sleeping bags wearing many clothes to keep ourselves warm – yeah, it was a memorable one! I slept quite well that night. I was nervous and excited that night thinking that tomorrow is the marathon and I am going to complete 42 km running.
Finally, the day came for the race. We stood together all waiting for, the world’s highest marathon day. I was a little nervous when I woke up in the morning and realised that the marathon starts at 7 a.m. My nervousness disappeared; I was more excited looking at everyone. In our Kailash group were four runners (Laxmi Tamang, Magal Tamang, Samdup Tamang including me), Kiran Sherpa’s brother and Caron’s brother were also with us in our group. According to the countdown of 1-2-3 that was announced we started to run. Some runners started to run faster, it was difficult for us to take a fast pace because there were many people ahead of us who were walking the way that was narrow. After some time, the path seemed to widen and our group was separated. I started running with the hope to finish the marathon in 7 hours. Before the run, our guide, Tsewang Dai, had advised us to just keep on running and I am thankful to him now when I look back because the advice worked for me. I ran as much as I could. I had chocolates and lots of water on the way. I walked uphill and ran as fast as I could on the downhill to save time. The places we passed by on the way to running from base camp were Gorak shep, Lobuche, Dingboche, Pangboche, Tengboche, Kyangjuma and finally Namche Bazaar. The most discouraging part was when we had to run from Dingboche for many kilometres and coming back to the same path. It was a little discouraging to see people already coming back when you are just going there. There were many check points on the way and also many small green flags to let us know the correct way.
I faced some troubles on the way. I had very bad ear pain which prevented me from running. I thought my time was up and I’d have to stop. I saw two Europeans on the way, I asked for pain killers and luckily, they had some. I took four pain killers that made my earache bearable. I am very thankful for this relief. Along the path I realised my water had finished and the checkpoint was too far to get water. I was dehydrated, I was lacking energy. Luckily a Nepali guide on the way gave me an instant energy juice that boosted my energy level and again I started to run as fast as I could.
Finally, I saw Namche Bazaar. I felt so excited to see everyone waiting for me, I began to run faster. I completed the marathon crossing the red ribbon in front of all the special people waiting for us. My goal was to complete the marathon in 7 hours, however I completed in 8 hours one second but I felt great.
Everyone received certificates and medals. I was interviewed by a reporter as well which was a very thrilling and exciting moment. To my greatest surprise I held 5th position in the female category and got a prize and certificate. This became my most tremendous achievement of my life, I was on cloud nine! I didn’t regret even though I completed in 8 hours and 1 second, after all, I waited for my friends to complete the race. All the boys from our group had already arrived (Laxmi Tamang and Caron’s brother were left). They also successfully completed the race. Other runners came also on the morning after the marathon day. At least we all completed. It became the biggest achievement of our lives. Unfortunately, one of our friends (Kailash Home group) didn’t make it to participate in the marathon, he hurt his leg hurt while doing a photoshoot which was sad moment for all of us because he couldn’t take part in it. It happened just the day before the marathon.
The time had come for us to return back to Kathmandu. We went back to Lukla. Unfortunately, our flight was cancelled because of the weather. It took us three days to return back to Kathmandu. We walked for whole day and on top of that it was raining. The next day we walked and finally a jeep was acquired by our guide. We reached Kathmandu on the next day. Therefore, it took us 13 days for the whole trek to Everest base camp – it was the most memorable trek of my life.
I would not have had this golden opportunity to go to the Everest base camp and participate in the world’s highest marathon if the Kailash Home did not exist. I am from the Kailash Home (Himalayan Youth Foundation). I believe that there is no other NGO that gives intense love and care with all the facilities like we are experiencing. I am very grateful for my Kailash Home donors, Lobsang Sir who put up great effort for this successful marathon and thanks to all the supporters. Without you, it would have been impossible for us to make it here. I am proud to represent my Kailash Home and family. I am also very glad that we completed the marathon, which helped the three charities in the US, UK and Andorra to raise funds for the new building of Kailash which is now under construction.
This was the work of a dream team.