It’s so difficult to believe that almost two weeks ago I returned home from a trip I had planned for over 3 years. I’m so taken back by the wonderful words of support and acts of kindness upon my return from a trip that I can truly say has helped me grow in such a positive way that words cannot possibly explain.
Words do not seem enough to express the experience that I and my new friends had the incredible opportunity to share with one another. Such a rich and filling adventure that would test every mental and physical bone in my body.
One of the most heart warming things I had the opportunity to do was to deliver money to 10 widows. I met these women in person and witnessed a moment for them that would mean survival.
Too often do we take for granted the life we have. I raised over $2000 in the last two years for Sherpa Widows and this increased in the days leading up to meeting each amazing women thanks to the generosity of the Everest Marathon team, including the Porters, Sherpa’s and Employees from Himalayan Expeditions. I was able to see the love they still had for life, the need to carry on even through times that were truly challenging. I received blessings and even enjoyed a cup of tea in their home. A home that was so neatly presented and filled with love even though it did not have a strong roof to support it. I was offered biscuits even though that food would be difficult to buy. I see through the eyes of Sir Edmund Hillary in these moments and understand fully why he devoted his time to secure the Nepalese future. I’ve never met such a grateful group of people.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet people I call my friends and even family that were from all over the world. All different abilities and backgrounds. This was the first marathon some have ever participated in. It was also an opportunity for so many to raise awareness and money for so many great and needy causes. It was an honour to hear each story and reason behind their own personal endeavour and find myself truly inspired from being surrounded by each and every member of the team. I was proud to run this Marathon to raise $3477 for the Himalayan Trust.
We had stayed in many tea houses along our trek through the Kumbu Valley, each feeling like home because of the incredible Nepalese hospitality. Never underestimate the person running one of these tea houses. One in particular had actually summited Everest 4 times! I felt that I was staying with a true legend but to them it is just a job.
My late Grandmother had given me advice once that will always stay with me. “Melissa, never forget to look up”. I can truly say that my Nan Fey was so very right. When you are in the moment and have the opportunity to experience something wonderful – never forget to ‘look up’ or be in the moment. I did this throughout my trek to Base Camp and really felt the raw energy of such an incredible place at 4:30am on the morning of the race day when a rather large avalanche made it’s way down one of the large slopes we were surrounded by.
Base Camp is where we spent our last two nights prior to the Marathon. I can say that this is an experience I will always remember and have a new appreciation for climbers who wish to summit Everest. They spend two months here preparing for something that is quite possibly one of the hardest things to achieve. What an amazing place! 9 avalanches fell in the two days we spent here. It really puts everything in perspective and mother nature is truly in charge there.
As the countdown began we set off on our Everest Marathon. I have never felt more exhausted before competing in a marathon. This made this challenge the best mental test. At this point I could not help but think of the wonderful people who had this opportunity removed from them due to the effect of the environment and altitude. This is where the adventure and marathon really puts you to the test because of the effects of altitude the body rarely is used to. Just getting to base camp with full health becomes the priority and very quickly we realised the marathon up until the starting point takes the back seat.
I could not control my emotions just 2 km from the finish line. This is the moment I had been waiting for, for three years. I had officially ‘knocked the bastard off’. This is the time I say, with hard work, determination and the support from so many of my loved one’s I had succeeded in running the Everest Marathon. After 9 hours and 56min I reflect on the words of my grandmother. I finished this marathon and ‘looked up’, I looked at everyone celebrating and cheering.
We made it, we did what we set out to do, regardless how long it took us. Some made it in as night fell after over 15 long hours. We will not just leave with a certificate and medal but an appreciation for what we have and who we have. I’ve been asked the question ‘what’s next?’. Well the answer is living! I want to live my life full and continue to influence and hopefully inspire those who I meet along the way. I’ve put the pressure on and I’ve made diamonds.
In those wise words of my Nan Fey, never forget to look up. Be present in the moment. Don’t let life pass you by without filling it with adventure. The adventure actually starts here for me. Just like you I am creating a story of the life of Mel. I choose to make it a good one.