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Himalayan race will be greatest challenge for Sichel

by Press Release
Wednesday 29th July 2015

NEWS from Orkney’s William Sichel

Himalayan race will be greatest challenge for Sichel

Photo: The High Course

Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel (61) is due to leave Sanday for a mammoth journey to Leh, Ladakh, in Indian Kashmir in readiness for La Ultra-The High, the World's Highest Ultra-marathon which starts on August 16th.

“I've arranged my travel so that I actually arrive in the region 14 days prior to the race start, which allows a decent spell to help me acclimatise. I've worked with the experienced organisers to plan a series of graded treks, designed to optimise acclimatisation during that two week period.  This will give me the best chance possible of being well prepared for these extreme altitudes.”

The race has an average altitude of 14,500 feet/4400m, with three mountain passes to cross which are around 18,000 feet/5000m. These are, apparently, the highest motorable roads in the world.

William admits that he has almost no experience of altitude at all and this was part of the attraction of the event – to experience something entirely new and different.

La Ultra-The High has been going for six years now so a bank of experience has developed amongst the Delhi-based organisers. 

The event consists of three different road races -111km/69 miles, 222km/138 miles and 333km/207 miles - with all the races starting at the same time of 10pm on August 16th in the tiny village of Diskit in the Nubra Valley. 

Just 16 runners will be involved in total, with five of them joining William in his event.  Last year, the first running of the 207 mile event, just one runner was able to finish.

William will be tackling the longest race, which is 207 miles and has a 72 hour time limit. Runners have been warned to expect temperatures ranging from minus 10C on the mountain tops, to plus 35C in the valleys – so a huge range to cope with.

“I'm expecting this to be the toughest physical challenge I've ever attempted as nothing can be harder than trying to run with 40% less oxygen in the air. Humans can survive weeks without food, days without water but just minutes without oxygen – that just illustrates how crucial the oxygen supply is to our bodies and minds.”

William is grateful for crew support from Tim Rainey and William's blog and social media channels will carry news of the preparations and the race, subject to connectivity being available.

William hopes to high-light the benefits of exercise for the over 60s as well as raise money for the CLAN cancer support charity, with over £10,000 having been raised by William and those involved in the “Challenge William” project last year.  William's dedicated web page can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/William-Sichel

William's dedicated web page can be found here: www.williamsichel.co.uk and his blog can be found at www.williamsichel.co.uk/blog/

The fundraising page is at: www.justgiving.com/William-Sichel

Find out more about La Ultra-The High at: www.laultra.in


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