‘Everesting’ is based on a simple concept. But it’s anything but easy. Wherever you are in the world, you choose a hill or incline. You run to the top. You run back down. You repeat the process. Pretty straightforward, right? The challenge comes with the repetition required. As the name suggests, Everesting requires you repeat the climb until you’ve hit the equivalent elevation of the highest point on the planet – 8,848 m to be precise.
It’s not for the faint hearted, but then nobody every described Ultrarunner and On ambassador Elliot Cardin like that. Adapting to the curve ball of canceled plans 2020 threw at all of us, he set himself a new challenge.
‘Everesting’ first became a thing in cycling, but with this year’s race calendar evaporating, runners looking for an epic endeavor started to take on the challenge. At the time of writing, of the many more that attempted it, 154 runners have successfully hit the ‘summit’.
Elliot decided to join the ranks of Everesting runners after the 160-km long Bromont Ultra Marathon in Quebec, Canada, was canceled.
“Full Everesting is about 11 hours of effort and that’s what I wanted,” Elliot explained. “This challenge seemed perfect for me to work on my weakness which is the ascent.”
Elliot chose the Chemin Thibault Climb on Quebec’s Mont Sutton to be his Everest. 0.97 km long with a 250 m of elevation, it would take 36 repeats to reach the required 8,848 m of vert.
As if that weren’t challenge enough, there was a time goal too. Elliot was out to beat the Canadian record for Everesting on foot – 11 hours, 19 minutes – set by Ryan Atkins on the same mountain in July 2020.
There were added challenges from the outset too. Starting at 6:24 am at -11 degrees Celsius and feeling an IT band injury, Elliot started getting acquainted with the 25.90% incline – putting his pre-attempt visualization into practice.
“Before every big challenge or race I visualize a situation where I am in pain and experiencing difficulties,” Elliot explained.
“I imagine it very strongly and I try to feel it as much as possible and when I succeed, I put myself in a state of mind where I accept this suffering. This allows me to arrive ready and more at peace with the difficulties I am going to encounter.”
Knowing his IT band was not fully fit, Elliot came prepared to get uncomfortable.
I knew I could fail but I wanted to take the risk.
After 3,000 m of altitude the pain became noticeable. It was on each downhill that the injury began to really bite. But Elliot kept moving. At the halfway point, he was 28 minutes ahead of the record and motivation was still high.
With 7,300 m Elliot began to suffer from stomach cramps and made the difficult decision to stop the attempt after 29 ascents – just seven shy of reaching the full elevation of Everest.
That [the cramping] was the final blow. I was tired of suffering and at that moment I knew I would have to try again for the record. I preferred to limit the damage and concentrate on what came next.
What Elliot didn’t know at the time was that he had still set a world record that day. He had climbed half of Mount Everest, 4,442 m of altitude and the equivalent to Mount Everest’s Base Camp, in a new ‘half Everesting’ record of 4 hours, 50 minutes. He didn’t realize until two days later, when a friend who had checked the results online got in touch.
Now, after getting his name in the record books, Elliot is taking time out to let his IT band heal fully. ”The recovery for me is mainly in the kitchen,” he explained. “I am currently completing studies in naturopathy where I am learning how to use plants and natural supplements to optimize health and performance.
“I like to test what I learn about myself, to see what works well and what doesn't. I like the return to nature’s source that I get with my profession and I think it’s really interesting to see how it can help us in our discipline. Ultrarunning is super demanding on the body and with naturopathy I believe I have good way to give a lot back to it.”
Once healed up, Elliot still has his eye on the Canadian Everesting record. And if this first attempt is anything to go by, that symbolic summit is well within reach.
Elliot’s Everesting Gear
Elliot wore the Weather Jacket, the Tights Long, and the Performance Long-Tto conquer the cold temperatures. “I brought several changes of clothing for all types of weather. Waterproof, windproof, shorts, tights – you name it. It was -11 Celsius at first. I knew I needed warm clothes.”
He ran in the Cloudventure Peak for the duration of the challenge. “I love them! I discovered the Cloudventure Peak while running a 100k. I didn't have any discomfort and I didn't even change my shoes halfway through the race like I had planned. They are minimalist, which is just my style and they have great grip.”