TrailRunMag 28.07.2011

She’s got a reputation for taking on ‘more than you can chew’ runs. But has Lisa Tamati finally stuffed her metaphorical mouth so much with her latest project that she might not be able to breathe let alone swallow? Of course that’d be the altitude causing asphyxiation: from 3500m to 5500m. And anywhere in between – anyone who has ever zoomed up to altitude will know it knocks the stuffing out of you.

La Ultra The high is the Kiwi Ultra Queen’s latest mission, a 222km run tracking those altitudes over the world’s highest motorable passes located in Ladakh, Kashmir, high (like I needed to put that word in) in the Himalaya.

Trail Run Mag will be there every lead-foot step of the way, leaving on Monday to join Lisa in the mountain village of Leh, where she is acclimatising having arrived a few days ago.

We’re there to cover her story for Australian Geographic Outdoor Magazine and, of course, Trail Run Mag, with the kind assistance of Air Asia and The North Face Australia/NZ, who sponsor Lisa and make mad missions like this possible.Travelling with us will be a director/cameraman from Nalu Productions, who will film a cracking documentary about the attempt. And it is an attempt. First run last year, La Ultra The High only counts one actual finisher, Mark Cockbain, from the UK. Every other competitor last year ended up in hospital. No wonder some are rating this the hardest ultra in the world, the sheer altitude and risk of AMS the defining hurdle that pushes this race above many others.

There are three Australians also in the fray this year: Samantha Gash, the youngest and the only female competitor to finish all the Four Deserts Races run by Racing The Planet; Jason Rita, who has completed many 100 mile races and started the Tanzanian running organisation; and Catherine Todd, running under UAE flag but really an Aussie, another who has completed many 100 milers plus adventure races. We’ll keep you updated on how they all fare. But you will cop a fair bit of Lisa, purely because we’re crewing for her, too, which will be a learning experience in itself.

We caught up with Lisa on Skype today, here discussing how it is up at Leh, India, where she’s spending her time re-learning how to breathe.

Check the (scratchy) audio (video is still images of Lisa’s shoot in the Blue Mountains post TNF100 with Mark Watson / Incite Images):


Trail Run Mag believes that it is important to recognise those who support our trail runners undertaking wicked adventures that the rest of us want to be doing, too. Without brand support, adventures like this do not happen. Lisa is being supported in her attempt to conquer La Ultra  – The High by those below (notably, there’s a culture link (obvious for TNF and Outdoor), but the CEO of Air Asia is running ten marathons in a season, so there’s true understanding behind the support being offered):

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