Four businessmen are winging their way to Nepal on an adventure of a lifetime with some very precious cargo. They’re competing in the world’s highest marathon and taking 42 prayer flags with them, all with a special wish from a heart child.
Even before reaching the start-line the group will have to trek for 10 days in the Himalayas just to get to Base Camp. The Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon criss-crosses the high Sherpa trails of Khumbu valley and celebrates the historical ascent on Mt. Everest by the late Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary on 29th May 1953.
Competing in the 42km marathon was the brainchild of Lower Hutt resident Colin Chapman (55), who managed to rope in three mates, Colin Thomson (55), Russell Simpson (41) and the oldest member of the quartet Paul May (60). While they’re all fit, Thomson says he only started running three years ago.
“The biggest concern we have apart from avalanches and marauding yaks, is the altitude sickness. So, I’ve been looking really weird training at the gym with a full-face oxygen mask.”
“We’re taking a shovel and have agreed that if one of us gets unlucky, we’ll just bury them on the spot,” laughs Thomson. What they have actually decided is, if one falls ill on the two-week hike to base camp they’ll be left behind, but if they get sick or injured during the 42km run, they will all stop to help. “We’re in this together, and all want to come home together.”
Thomson says there is a more serious side to their adventure. “It’s not just a group of mates taking off on some hedonistic, The Hangover part 6, ultimate adventure. We’ve committed to raising money while we’re doing it.”
The four, led by Chapman, have so far raised $220,000 of their $250,000 goal for Heart Kids, the charity which supports the 12 babies born every week in New Zealand with a heart defect. Chapman’s company 360 Logistics has been a supporter of the charity for several years. “Running around Everest is nothing compared to what kids born with heart defects have to endure every day,” says Chapman. It’s a cause close to Thomson’s heart as well. “My mum was a heart child and our lives were defined by her heart condition, we lived in the shadow of her illness.”
The wishes printed on the 42 prayer flags have been sponsored by businesses and individuals across New Zealand. Some of the wishes printed on the flags, include ‘My lifelong wish is to be a heart surgeon, so I can help fix hearts like mine’ and ‘My wish is to be able to play football. I know I can't but that is my wish.’ Thomson says raising money for kids who really need it makes the whole journey a lot more rewarding. You can visit their blog and fundraising page at www.runningeverestforheartkids.co.nz
Created on: 15 May 2018