At the end of 2015 an opportunity arose for 2016 as I heard about a new marathon by Impact Marathon Series which aimed to bring aid to Nepal following their recent earthquake. When abroad I usually do some training runs, but so far I hadn’t had the opportunity to race. As this was a country I’d not yet visited, after asking a few questions I decided to go ahead and enter.
This started off as being away for just a week in the build up to the marathon and then going straight home so I decided to go for their “Summit Camp” package. The reason I went for this over the other two available options was that it sounded like it would mean a slightly less crowded tent which would hopefully mean more peace of mind for camera equipment I’d be taking with me. It also sounded like it might be slightly more comfortable which is good when you’re camping and have a marathon to run at the end of it, and would include all the bedding, etc. which is stuff I didn’t really want to be taking with me.
Weeks passed by, and at the end of January the company then offered extension options for the trip with activities such as going to the Mount Everest base camp. Most of them had some aspect I was interested in, but I decided the one that would best suit me was the one which included a hike through the forests, and seeing the Swayambhunath temple. Another positive for this was the potential for seeing a Bengal Tiger – a species I’d love to photograph even if the chances of seeing one were slim.
After this it was quite some time before we started to get details through from the company, and just a month before the race they sent out a suggested packing list. The downside to this was that they suggested trail shoes would be a requirement, and it was already too late for me to be able to wear in any new shoes so would need to stick with my normal running shoes. This could create a bit of a challenge depending on the conditions and terrain, but one I’d need to accept.
In terms of what the plan was for when we arrive things were still a little up in the air, and all I knew was that I’d need to sort out a tourism visa on arrival (US$25 would be needed for this along with a passport sized photo), and that they’d pick everyone up from the airport. For the visa though the Nepal tourism website says that you need a letter of invitation (the marathon company said this isn’t actually required), but also an address for where you’d be staying. Unfortunately even two weeks before the intended travel date I still hadn’t heard what this would be.
I did find out later however that they’d been posting information to social media and to a blog, but they’d not been emailing the updates as well which is why I had missed them. Despite this, I did see that they offer marathons in other developing countries which I’d likely consider for future years.
I’d read reports that power is pretty limited in Nepal as their hydroelectric dams can’t meet their demand, and that power would also be at a cost. Based on this I decided I wouldn’t take my laptop as normal and instead bought a new iPad Pro and would take my USB charging pack as well. It’s possible it may not be the same in the athlete’s village, but I decided to plan ahead as if it was.
Based on what I’d already decided, and what had been suggested, I decided to pack the following equipment:
- Apple iPad Pro 256Gb (Wi-Fi only) with Pencil and Smart Keyboard,
- Canon EOS 5D mk III camera,
- Canon EOS 5D mk II camera,
- Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens,
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens,
- Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens,
- Garmin ForeRunner 235,
- CompactFlash Cards,
- 4 batteries for Canon EOS 5D (one of higher capacity),
- Lens pen, air blower, and cloth for cleaning equipment,
- Chargers for iPad/iPhone, cameras, and watch
Other items, including my running kit which I’d also need would then be:
- Saucony Omni 13 trainers,
- 2x technical tees,
- Running shorts,
- 2x running socks,
- A bag of jelly babies,
- A small bag of crunchy nut cornflakes for marathon-day breakfast,
- 75cl Water-to-go water bottle with filter,
- Unilite PS-H8 head torch.
This was on top of packing normal clothes for the two weeks for warm(ish) and humid conditions, but making sure there were some warm clothes for evenings when it would likely be far cooler due to the altitude. I’ve stayed up-to-date on immunisations so fortunately hadn’t needed to get any during training on the lead up to this marathon either. I did however make sure I’d got hand gel, and Diethyltoluamide (more commonly known as deet), just in case.
As the remaining weeks passed by, training although a long way behind, got easier in the cooler weather. I may not have been ready for running up mountains, but at least I’d be able to get around the course and hopefully enjoy the two weeks.
My only worry now was getting my tourism visa on arrival in Nepal.