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

43Humee Budha Magar11km1:50:384F
96Sradha11km2:14:2510F
29Dawa Sangmo11km2:23:1512F

11km men

45Babu Kagi Shrestha11km1:38:061M
137Dawa Lama11km1:38:082M
138Ngima Sherpa11km1:40:433M

27km women

55Tite Togni27km4:07:5811F
75Maude Joli Coeur27km4:35:5819F
97Sarah Heywood27km4:36:0420F

27km men

134Bed Sunuwar27km2:23:151M
123Binod Sijapati27km3:01:052M
32Dharma Maharjan27km3:02:103M

50km women

143Mira Rai50km5:43:594F
23Bishnu Maya Budha50km6:41:078F
89Rojina Bhandari50km6:59:5411F
12Arpita Maitra50km12:25:0015F

50km men

110Khagmantra B Bhat50km5:15:341M
144Tirtha Tamang50km5:15:352M
28Damodar Budhamagar50km5:28:393M
68Mangal Singh Tamang50km5:56:485M
39Sher Bahadur Tharu50km6:28:346M

80km men

118Upendra Sunuwar80km8:01:001M
17Bhim Bahadur Gurung80km9:05:002M
80Narayan Deshay80km9:15:003M

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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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