WRITTEN BY David Cole | 06th June 2017

My name is David Cole, I’m 49 years of age, from Australia and working and living in Thailand with my wife and son. I started running just 10 years ago – the catalyst was living in Shanghai where I had little opportunity to exercise having a door to door subway commute between home and my office, so I joined an 8km fun run and it started from there. I found myself quickly running marathons, and then getting in on the trail running boom throughout Asia. I need to be always doing something active; being in the outdoors. Physical activity is important for our health, wellbeing and running is an enabler of that. I am so inspired by a few older runners I have met doing marathons that are in their 60-70s; I always say I want to be like them when I’m their age and like to encourage other have that same positive, and “can do” mindset.

Some of the events that I have participated and completed in my decade of endurance sports are:

  • Climbed 2x 8000m peaks (Everest and Cho Oyu)
  • 7 Summits (climbed tallest mountain on every continent)
  • Multiple marathons, 50-100km trail races, triathlons, Ironman distance
  • Cycled across Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang Western China
  • Solo run across Thailand Ocean to Ocean

I’m in the process of getting to a level of competence where I can finish a 100 mile distance event and I edged closer to that goal last year running Thailand Ocean to Ocean race. I’ve also been training for the GHRF ever since I signed up, but since I have very little opportunities for any regular training regime so the strategy is to generally try stay in shape by participating in some organized event every weekend or so whether that be running, cycling or triathlons.

I have been looking for a different kind of endurance event and GHRF sounded appealing, when I found the event on Facebook. The appeal of this event is definitely the Himalayas and the whole festival spirit thing with a group of passionate people getting together to take on the challenge; whatever the distance, in what is such a beautiful location. It will be my first time doing such back to back runs each day, and never before at altitude, and that is what makes it great – of trying for the first time and being positive about success. My goal is just to finish. Otherwise, soaking up the awesome location, the whole festival spirit and friendship with other participants.

I’ve spent quite bit of time at high altitude before, just not running. The key will be not be to overdo it and make the most of acclimatization days before the start of the festival and then just see how I feel each day and adjust accordingly.  I have always been clear that I shouldn’t ever underestimate the risk and effects of altitude which can start anything above 3000m. Drink plenty of fluids and really go at easy pace. There will be times you will feel like crap – slow down, rest and do not push yourself. Acclimatizing well takes time.