The cycling world created this new endurance feat a while back, however I just stumbled onto it recently. The concept is pretty simple: you ride hill repeats until you reach an elevation gain of 29,029 feet, which is the height of Mount Everest. While you can take as many breaks as you want, this has to be done as a single push without sleeping.
You might be wondering why I’m mentioning a cycling idea on a running blog. Turns out you can run an everest (no capital E if used as a noun?) in addition to just cycling one. This is much less common (not that cycling one is common) and the only difference is that you don’t have to actually run down the hill. You can get a ride down via car, chair lift, etc.
For some reason, the idea of a run everesting really resonates with me. I’m not an elevation or mountain junky by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve been tracking my ascent data in my running log, but I never look at it. And I never train based on elevation gain/loss. I know about how much vert I get per run (typically +/- 100 feet per mile), but that’s just how my routes shake out. This is not something I target.
While I’ve read a couple articles on it, the reason it’s now stuck in my head as a potential adventure for me is the number itself: 29,029. The thought of “climbing” Mount Everest is neat, but I’m not a climber and I suck at elevation. I just like the symmetry of the number. I probably wouldn’t have nearly the same interest if I had to reach an ascent of 26,157 feet. But 29029?
Sign me up! I am now officially intrigued.
I’m not completely sold on the idea. . . yet. Mostly because I’m not entirely sure how hard this would be for me. Obviously, it’s hard, that goes without saying. Since this would be a side project, the question would be whether I could fit this into my normal training or if I would have to devote a block of training in order to accomplish. 29k feet of elevation is about twice my typical monthly volume, which is spread out over 150-200 miles. I’ve done 26k once during a 100 mile event (Cloudsplitter), however I’ve never done more than about 6k during any single training session.
My first 100 of 2019 will be Massanutten in May, which has about 20k of elevation gain. Training for this should include quite a bit of vertical so I’m pencilling in 3 training session focused purely on vertical (5k, 10k, 15k). I will only proceed to the next workout if the prior one goes well and doesn’t completely wreck me. There’s no use of knocking out a 15k ascent if it leaves me completely wasted and impacts my potential success at Massanutten. How that 15k session goes will then determine if and when I decide to step up to a full everesting attempt.
And beyond that there’s something called the High Rouleurs Society. This was created by the Hells 500 cycling club, which popularized everesting. HRS has similar rules to everesting, however you have to ascend 32,809 feet and complete the activity within 36 hours. That sounds like a random number for the metric challenged among us, however converts into a nice round number in meters: 10,000.
Huh. Looks like I’ve found another 10k to chase.