hiking trail above tokha from shivapuri kathmandu nepal

© Ian Walker, used with permission.

The_North_Face_logo-200pxA race directors nightmare, waking up to the sound of winter rain in the morning in the days running up to the race date. The forecast gave 60% chance of rain, and the forecast was right – a couple of days of wet weather in an otherwise guaranteed settled period of crisp, clear winter sun.

Within minutes of the main pack starting, after some blue sky and reasonably fine weather, rain started to fall enthusiastically. What could have been a miserable day, turned out to be no such thing. The rain made trails cool and slippery, but the squally atmosphere gave runners rare, rich views of the Kathmandu Valley at its best, see the photo above for instance.

The race keeps to trails as much as possible though in recent years many trails became jeep tracks, which, unmaintained, soon become enjoyably run-able. Similarly, trails in the national park have been visited by the Asian Step-Building Fairy to turn narrow technical forest trails into 2m wide stone walkways through the trees. Yet again, after a couple of years, vegetation takes root and the steps look less like a modern, mis-guided imposition, and much more like an ancient trail to somewhere mysterious, and hard to run down with big feet.

The 50km and 80km races had top turnout with Nepal’s best runners present. Tirtha Tamang, 1st in the Ultra Trail World Tour’s Hong Kong 100km race a year ago, fought with Khagendra Bhat for 1st in the 50km finally taking second in a downhill sprint finish. Mira Rai started her year with another 1st place. Special guests for the race were Rojina Bhandari (18) and Bishnu Maya Budha (19) both from farming families over four hours away from Jumla Bazar. They placed first and second in the recent Jumla Rara marathon and were invited to run in Kathmandu, their first visit to the big city. Their transport was sponsored by Visit Karnali Travels.

mira rai jumla girls trail runners

The 80km route proved tough in the rainy weather. Upendra Sunuwar powered home in 8:01 over an hour ahead of the second place runner, Bhim Bahadur Gurung. The 80km women’s category had only Ang Chhutin Sherpa partaking. She decided to retreat from the course late afternoon heading up from Vajra Yogini alone in the misty forest with dark coming. A sensible decision.

Kathmandu-Ultra-50Despite being a local race for a small prize pot split over four races, the times were fast. Here are the top results below.
Thank you to Pema Shanti Sherpa and team at The North Face / Sherpa Adventure Outlet Pvt Ltd for their sponsorship and involvement in making this race a great experience for all who participated.

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11km women

43 Humee Budha Magar 11km 1:50:38 4 F
96 Sradha 11km 2:14:25 10 F
29 Dawa Sangmo 11km 2:23:15 12 F

11km men

45 Babu Kagi Shrestha 11km 1:38:06 1 M
137 Dawa Lama 11km 1:38:08 2 M
138 Ngima Sherpa 11km 1:40:43 3 M

27km women

55 Tite Togni 27km 4:07:58 11 F
75 Maude Joli Coeur 27km 4:35:58 19 F
97 Sarah Heywood 27km 4:36:04 20 F

27km men

134 Bed Sunuwar 27km 2:23:15 1 M
123 Binod Sijapati 27km 3:01:05 2 M
32 Dharma Maharjan 27km 3:02:10 3 M

50km women

143 Mira Rai 50km 5:43:59 4 F
23 Bishnu Maya Budha 50km 6:41:07 8 F
89 Rojina Bhandari 50km 6:59:54 11 F
12 Arpita Maitra 50km 12:25:00 15 F

50km men

110 Khagmantra B Bhat 50km 5:15:34 1 M
144 Tirtha Tamang 50km 5:15:35 2 M
28 Damodar Budhamagar 50km 5:28:39 3 M
68 Mangal Singh Tamang 50km 5:56:48 5 M
39 Sher Bahadur Tharu 50km 6:28:34 6 M

80km men

118 Upendra Sunuwar 80km 8:01:00 1 M
17 Bhim Bahadur Gurung 80km 9:05:00 2 M
80 Narayan Deshay 80km 9:15:00 3 M

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Trail Photos

Some very nice images from local action photographer Anuj Adhikari on the last 13km stretch. 

bed sunuwar the north face kathmandu ultra

Thanks to http://www.anujadhikary.com/

Finish photos

 

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