Danish ultrarunner Simon Grimstrup recently ran up the same hill near his hometown of Ry in Central Denmark 202 times, eventually surpassing the total height of Mount Everest (8,848m). The run ended up being about 50K in total distance, and Grimstrup finished it in 10 hours, 45 minutes, 14 seconds, which has been officially ratified as the new Everesting run world record.
Everesting originally started as a cycling challenge that saw athletes ride up one hill over and over again until they reached 8,848m of elevation gain. As the challenge grew more popular, it found its way into the world of running, and since then, 447 runners have completed it (according to the official Everesting website).
For a run to count as an official Everesting attempt, runners must follow a few simple rules. Firstly, the run has to be on one hill, meaning an individual can’t run around a hilly region on multiple routes until he or she hits 8,848m of elevation gain. It doesn’t matter how steep or how long the hill is, and the official rules state that “Essentially anything that has a vertical gain can be used” for the challenge.
There’s also the matter of sleep, which is not allowed in Everesting attempts. While sleep is always an option for runners in long ultramarathons, it isn’t permitted for Everesting runs. If a runner takes a nap, the attempt is over. When it comes to ascending and descending the chosen hill, a runner can choose whether to run down after each lap or get a ride down (whether that’s in a car, on a bike or any other form of transportation). Because of this option, there are two separate Everesting run records: shuttled and non-shuttled.
Grimstrup’s run was non-shuttled, and he ran or walked down the hill every lap. This not only made the challenge much more difficult, as Grimstrup didn’t get the chance to rest after each ascent, but as he said in an interview with the Vietnam Trail Series (VTS), it also left him wondering if he would make it to the finish line.
“I was not sure I would get the world record until the last two laps,” he said. “I was worried that I would fall on the downhill.” Running down a steep hill (the one Grimstrup chose was 130m long and featured 44m of elevation gain) is difficult enough on tired legs, but the task was made tougher for Grimstrup due to rain. He told the VTS team that, because of the rain, he had originally planned to only run a half-Everesting attempt as a test run on the hill.
After he ran 100 laps, though, Grimstrup said his friends convinced him to keep going for the full run. He gave in, but he said the trail he followed only got worse and more torn up with each lap. Despite the sketchy terrain, he made it to the finish, beating the previous Everesting world record by 16 minutes.
“It was the hardest, stupidest, most epic thing I have ever done,” Grimstrup said.
In addition to running the Everesting attempt for the physical challenge, Grimstrup linked it to a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, which can be found here.