The challenge of a lifetime!

Written by Lisa Tamati - USANA Ambassador and Ultra Marathon Runner

250 kilometres is a long way at the best of times and in the Himalayas when it’s either a steep ascent or a steep descent on technically tricky trails, the race becomes very long! A couple of weeks ago that’s exactly what I was doing – and doing it hard! I was involved in an ultra-marathon which circumnavigated Mt Manaslu, one of the 8000 metre high giant mountains in the Himalayas.

I was one of 33 individuals from around the world there to take on the challenge of a lifetime. With me and also on foot – whether we were running, walking or crawling our way, were my producer and cameraman  – to document this adventure-of-a-lifetime for a forthcoming documentary.

It was brutal and much tougher than I had expected. I have competed in ultra-marathons all over the planet for over 16 years now in a total distance of over 65 000 kilometres in places such as Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Egypt and in the Sahara, Arabian, Libyan and Jordanian Deserts as well as twice through Death Valley in the United states (the hottest desert on earth), the Gobi Desert and the Australian outback. I had also been to the Indian Himalayas and many other runs and expeditions. But this one was truly wild.

Being asthmatic, I had my work cut out for me heading to 5100 metres above sea level. The altitude there leaves only around 40% of the oxygen that we have at sea level triggering many side effects such as headaches, nausea, lethargy and severe shortness of breath just to name a few…

As a result of the harsh conditions, our group saw three helicopter rescues with six of our group suffering from severe altitude sickness and there were even two near deaths! At times, I was beyond my limits stumbling along, not being able to think properly and feeling ill. But I’m delighted to say that we made it – albeit a few kilos lighter by the end! Of course, dreaded diarrhoea and vomiting contributed to this. Yet we also had the best time of our lives – there were some incredible highs, literally as well as figuratively.

Looking back, we know we were involved in something amazing! The culture, people, the toughness of our porters and the isolated 1000 year old monastery that we had the rare opportunity to stay in are highlights that are so special and will live in our memories forever!

In fact, it’s difficult to remember the discomforts, pain, freezing cold temperatures and altitude sickness. What stays and will always stay are the wonderfully unique memories of the incredible people we met along the way, the glorious mountains and the special moments we experienced alone on the trail. Sometimes, I just wanted to pinch myself and ask ‘am I really here in this amazing place?’

Of course, USANA accompanied me everywhere I went. And USANA supplements have nursed my immune system back to health since my return. Thank goodness for USANA! Your fabulous products certainly have helped me tremendously in my recovery and in my return to good health!