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How the Highest Altitude Ultra-Marathon was Completed

Highest Altitude Ultra-Marathon

To gain a Guinness World Record (GWR) in endurance sports requires grit, determination – and accurate, verifiable data. On 5th November 2019, Daithí Ó Murchú successfully completed the highest altitude ultra-marathon completed by an individual, and YB Tracking was with him every step of the way, recording his position and altitude and sharing it with the world to verify his progress on this remarkable venture.

Starting at the peak of Kala Patthar, just 9.5km from the peak of Mount Everest, Daithí’s route took him 60km and five mountain peaks to complete. Starting at an altitude of 5,645m and finishing at 3,440m at Namche Bazar, the run covered some of the most rugged terrain on the planet, with steep climbs and descents throughout.

Highest Altitude Ultra-Marathon Route

Daithí is no stranger to gruelling sports. In 2001 and 2005, he captained the Irish Masters' 4x400m relay teams at the World Championships in Australia and Spain, and in the latter event, his team had set a national record that still stands today. In 2015, he became the first Irish person to complete the 6633 Arctic Ultra marathon, which started in the Canadian Yukon and crossed the Arctic Circle to finish on the banks of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk. In 2017, he captained Team Ireland to set a record for the fastest combined times of an international team in the Everest Marathon. He also held the decathlon record and had had the privilege of representing Ireland internationally as a Master Athlete in several disciplines.

In addition to his YB tracker, Daithí's run was witnessed by Phurba Tashi, who had held his own world record, having summited mountains over 8000m a staggering 30 times, including 21 ascents of Mount Everest. But it was the data from his YB tracker that was key to gaining Daithí his place in the record books.

Daithí's tracker had recorded his position once every 5 seconds, providing a high-resolution record of where he had been. His position had been broadcast for external viewing every 15 minutes. His track had been secured on YB Tracking's servers, and upon completion, it had been shared with the GWR team, along with a formal verification from YB Tracking.

Daithí's record attempt had been carried out in association with Mountain Experience (ME), Kathmandu, in aid of the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality's education and development program. Since the earthquake that had devastated the area in 2015, efforts had been ongoing to rebuild schools and provide vital services. The record, if successful, would also be a significant boost for marathon events in Nepal, as Mountain Experience's 'ME Everest Marathon 2020 and Beyond' had been currently the only officially recognised event.

Here at YB Tracking we pride ourselves on providing a service which is enjoyed by some of the greatest adventure athletes in the world. In 2019 there are very few ‘world firsts’ remaining and with World Records the bar is often set so high that achieving them requires a truly astonishing effort. We were rooting for Daithí's success and delighted for him when he succeeded.

For more information, visit Daithí’s website here.


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