Wind, snow, altitude sickness and bone-chilling temperatures of -25°C are what a Durban pastor will encounter when he attempts to crack two Guinness World Records at Everest base camp in Nepal later this year.
When he was 16, Tom Basson, a senior pastor at the Grace Family Church in Umhlanga, compiled a list of 100 things he wanted to achieve before he died — one was hiking to Everest base camp.
Now, 24 years later, Basson is hoping to tick off the item on his bucket list when he takes on the Herculean task of attempting to break two records — the world’s highest obstacle course race and world’s highest marathon — in November as part of a global team.
The organisers — mountaineer and master summiteer Dave Pickles and obstacle race expert Rob Edmond — describe the Everest challenge as a “unique Guinness World Record-breaking hybrid event bringing together mountain, high altitude, trekking, obstacle course racing, adventure racing and distance running that has never been attempted before in the Himalaya”.
They said the participants would be set a tough multi-day challenge that will be a life-changing experience with rewarding, lasting outcomes.
Fifty endurance athletes, including Basson, will take a shot at the obstacle course at the 5,644m Everest base camp and then take on a descent marathon run from the base camp to Namche Bazaar in Nepal.
“The next three months are going to be tough. With the careful guidance of my coaches, I will start to add more weekly mileage to my training and really dial in my nutrition and recovery,” said Basson.