A 44-year-old pregnant grandmother from Nepal has become the country’s latest celebrity after winning the grueling Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon on Wednesday.
Ang Dami Sherpa, a resident of Thame in Solukhumbu district which lies in the Everest region, won the 42.19 km race in a time of 6 hours, two minutes and 10 seconds.
The highest marathon race in the world, starts at Everest Base Camp, starting point for ascent to the highest mountain, at the height of 5,364 metres above sea level, and ends at Namche Bazaar (3,446 m).
“I feel pleased to win the title at this age and will run in coming editions as well,” ‘Republica’ quoted Ang Dami, who had won the marathon in 2006 too.
The truth about her condition got revealed at the end of the marathon when her friend disclosed that her husband and other family members didn’t want her to compete as she was three-month pregnant.
“My husband and son had asked me not to run. But I consulted with a doctor and he suggested that I could run if it didn’t make me uncomfortable,” the housewife and mother of three said.
Ang Dami who has a granddaughter didn’t train before the race and didn’t think that she could win. “I just wanted to go to the base camp, go around and hang out with friends,” Dami said.
Her next aim besides continuing to take part in coming editions of the annual marathon is to set foot on top of Everest---if she can get sponsors.
Ang Dami’s received NRs 50,000 (Rs. 31,250) as her prize. But she says her real motivation for taking part was to earn fame and encourage other Nepali women to take part in the event.
Wednesday’s race which coincided with the diamond jubilee celebrations of the first ascent of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay is the 11th edition of the marathon.
Nepali runners have won all the races both the men’s and women’s categories (the women’s category was introduced in 2004). Athletes from all over the world compete in both categories.
The oldest runner in the men’s section was Christopher Geiger of Switzerland and the youngest runner from the women’s section was 18-year-old Monyean Foote of Australia.