"Have chosen these socks specifically to run the Everest Marathon 2022. Need warm running socks that will stand up to the run. Unlike my body." Says Peter Counsell, the 65-year-old from Batemans Bay, who is about to take up the 42-kilometre challenge at an altitude of 5,364 metres.
As a runner who has been trekking in Nepal for over 40 years, Mr Counsell has chosen Paire socks for this monumental journey at the top of the world.
"Doesn't get wet. No blisters. Warm and kept their shape." Things you might need in a sock when you're at a minus-10-degree marathon starting line atop a glacier and surrounded by snow.
We've reached out to Mr Counsell and asked him to share his inspiring story.
Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you start running? How has your reason for running evolved since then?
I am currently 65 and live on the south coast of NSW. I have been running sporadically for 40 or so of those years. The first marathon was when I was 38 and have completed around 27 since.
What inspired you to run the Everest Marathon? And how is it different to other marathons you've run?
I’ve been visiting Nepal for 40 years now and obviously love the place. On my last visit 4 years ago, I saw a framed t-shirt depicting the Everest Marathon. Alongside was a certificate awarded to a Mr Phurba Sherpa who had come in 4th place in the 2020 Everest Marathon. I asked the lodge owner who could be crazy enough to do such a thing? Of course, it was none other than he. A seed was then sown.
How did you train for the Everest Marathon?
I run around 5-6 days per week and average 60-70km. Each Sunday I do a long run of between 15 to 25kms. In the past 6 months have run a couple of marathons and the Stromlo 30km. Training for Everest where the start line is at 5364 metres is a little challenging though for someone who lives at sea level.
What were the toughest challenges throughout your journey at the Everest Marathon?
Getting to the start line. Normally for a marathon, they give you a 10-minute call to move to the start lineup. Here we are given a 12-day notice as that is how long it takes to trek to and acclimatise to Everest Base Camp. At the start line, the oxygen level is half to sea level.
What are your tips on finding the right gears? And what do you usually look for in running gears?
Finding the right gear for trekking and running in Nepal is super important. It needs to be lightweight, warm, durable and of course, comfortable. My favourite fabrics are superfine merino and of course down jackets and sleeping bags. The most important thing to do is to ask someone who has actually been there. You need to have the gear to cater for extreme weather conditions as well.
Why Paire socks for Everest? What are the differences you found in Paire socks compared to other socks you used to wear?
I needed two kinds of socks. Ones for trekking in. The others for the run itself. The trek socks need to be comfortable and warm as temperate can get down to minus 10 degrees. If they get wet, they still need to keep you warm and hold their shape.
For running socks, they have been a big concern. I have tried superfine merino socks in the past but they tend to lose their shape too quickly or ride down in the shoe.
Whilst at the Canberra marathon, I visited the Paire socks stall where the staff were extremely helpful. Thought I would try a couple of paires out. My first run in the quarter socks provided me with the solution to my socks for the Everest marathon. They were warm and kept their shape without being overly thick. A high wool content was also what I was seeking. I had planned on using the common running socks often known as the “blister-free” style which have been my choice of socks for years but they offer no warmth. At the start line of the Everest marathon, it could be as low as minus 10 degrees and I know I will need socks to offer some kind of warmth. Particularly whilst waiting for the race to start which is atop a glacier with lots of snow etc. So I also expect them to get wet. When I trail tested the Paire socks by wetting them, all was good. No blisters. Warm and kept their shape.
What are your favourite Paire socks?
Are there any products, gadgets, or apps you can’t run without?
I usually record my runs on Strava. I take my phone for podcasts. Google maps or Alltrails for directions in unknown areas.
What is the foundation you're raising for during the Everest Marathon 2022? And what does it mean to you?
The Australian Himalayan Foundation Chairman, Simon Balderstone, approached me just a couple of weeks back asking for my support which I was happy to do so. The AHF supports Nepal primarily in the areas of education, health and environment. Their team reads like a who’s who of the adventure travel environment. I personally know some of the directors and was humbled to be asked for my support quite frankly as I really don’t think my attempt at the Everest Marathon is anything special.
My participation in the Everest Marathon is fully self-funded.
What are your running goals for 2022?
Complete the Everest Marathon first up. I had a rush of blood to the head so my two sons and I have also entered the inaugural Bondi to Manly ultra-marathon in November.
Do you have any last thoughts on running, life challenges or life philosophy that you’d like to share with our readers?
You don’t have to run the Everest Marathon or any marathon for that matter. But set yourself some realistic goals and achieve them. Once you realise you can start achieving, set yourself a second goal etc. My wife started off as a park runner. After much encouragement, she entered her first half marathon in Lake Rotorua, New Zealand while my brother and I were doing the full marathon. Her aim was to finish before the cutoff time which she did comfortably. Once her confidence was up, there was no stopping her. Next up was another trek to Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Ri, both huge achievements.
And then her first marathon. The Medellin Marathon in Colombia when she turned 60!
Also inspiring is seeing park runners being able to complete their first park run by running all the way. They may have started off as walkers keeping the tail walkers company. To them, this is their Everest Marathon.