DEBUCHE, May 21: The Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon is slowly turning into a truly international event with the number of participants growing since its first edition held ten years ago.
The marathon that began in 2003 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa with only 30 participants has now grown to include 160 participants.
The organizers anticipate the number of participants to go up before the final day on May 29 when the marathon held in the highest altitude will begin.
"Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) started the event to mark the golden jubilee of the first ascent of the Everest and we have given continuity to it as adventure sports," said Satish Neupane, general manager of Himalaya Expedition, which has been organizing the marathon annually.
"We were not so sure until the first four editions but things began to improve gradually," said Neupane.
Neupane shares that the marathon has become a platform for players to participate in the international arena. "We recommend names of the winners for international events. This race has also become a good platform for the local runners," he said.
Suresh Yonzon, known popularly as Damche (The Protector), who has been guiding the participants to the Everest Base Camp for the past nine years, said that the Everest Marathon is already a well established marathon event.
Recalling one of the previous editions, Yonzon said, "Once a blind person participated in the marathon and completed it in 15 hours with the help of a friend."