On Saturday, October 31st, it's Halloween. All kinds of extraordinary things can happen, sometimes some of them are hard to believe: ghosts, undead, witches...
It is however a very real monster challenge that awaits Ultra runner and Näak ambassador Elliot Cardin (@elliotcardin) on that day. He will attempt, with the help of the Näak team, to break the world record for a positive vertical drop of 8848 meters, the symbolic elevation of Everest. This is a very difficult task, because according to the magazine Runner's World only 154 runners have ever managed to make this climb on foot, although this challenge is relatively common in the world of cycling. It is this challenge, taken up by the most courageous trail runners, that bears the name Everesting.
The Canadian record for such a climb, currently held by world obstacle race champion Ryan Atkins (@ryanatkinsdiet), is 11h19. In July 2020, the world champion and multidisciplinary athlete achieved this feat on Mount Sutton, located in Quebec and popular among local runners. It is on this same mountain that Elliot Cardin will try to beat his record: "Sutton is close to my home and I love this mountain. It's perfect for this kind of challenge with a 25% slope. Not too steep, not too flat and not very technical. Perfect for going fast and accumulating positive elevation gain!" he confides to us.
The climb is 0.97km long and offers 250m of vertical drop. To reach an elevation of 8848 meters, the Quebecer will have to cover it 36 times, uphill then downhill, for a total of nearly 70km. "It's going to sting a bit," he says euphemistically.
But the young Naturopathy student is not coming out of nowhere. In 2017, he made a name for himself by finishing 2nd at Bear Mountain 80K in New York. The following year, he accomplished another feat by winning the UTHC 65K. In early 2020, he won 3rd place in the Black Canyon Ultra and was awarded a golden ticket to the 2021 Western State, an iconic race in the world of Ultra Endurance.
He is also physically and mentally prepared: thanks to his multiple Ultra Endurance experiences and many years of veganism, he is the embodiment of "Mens sana in corpore sano". He has been training since September for this major challenge: after having completed the 125K Harricana and the 45K Beluga Trail, he was preparing for the 160K Bromont Ultra which has finally been cancelled. The training changes along with the objective, and that is how the Everesting project was born for the runner.
The Näak team will also be there: "I am lucky to have sponsors who support me a lot and that is 100% the case with Näak. The team is dynamic and always ready to get involved in my projects. [...] For me, Näak is more than just a sponsor, it's my gang of friends on whom I can always lean on." Indeed, the runner will benefit from nutritional, technical and moral support from Näak: Ultra Energy™ bars and Ultra Recovery™ protein powder will of course be there, but also a running coach who will provide expert external advice, a nutritionist who will guide the 'what', 'how' and 'when' of his nutrition, runners who will climb up and down to accompany him every step of the way, and friends who will encourage and support, all united around the epic adventure to make Elliot Cardin the future world record holder.
The runner feels confident, ready to put in a good performance: "I'm rested, I've had a good workout and my pre-challenge test was successful." However, he hopes that his recent iliotibial band syndrome, which slowed him down a lot in his races in 2020, will not pose a problem for this challenge particularly demanding for the knees, ankles and calves.