A post by Piotr Babis who just ran from Namche to Everest Base Camp and back and was curious to know if that had been done as a Fastest Known Time…
“After visiting Everest BC earlier that week I decided to challenge myself and visit this place one more time. I set for a return trip from Namche in a single day. Despite having a couple of days rest I didn’t feel 100%, it’s seems really hard to recover at this altitude. I started at 5:37am at big Stupa and reached BC at 13:21. It seemed all downhill from now but quick ascent over 5000m was really exhausting. Pretty technical downhill with few steep climbs didn’t go as fast as planned, especially that I didn’t want to risk injury. I was back at the Stupa at 21:21. The weather was great for most of the day with only few hours of snow and strong wind. Although I expected a bit faster time I’m supper happy to complete this trail in 1 day (15h 44min ).
“To verify my time please check my Strava profile: Piotr Babis. It was recorded as 2 different activities since my watch died.”
It’s 10 days to go before the 2018 Trail World Championships in Spain. Here’s a quick update!
There’s good news and less good news, as always.
Very good news is this:
€8,802.04 – has been collected over a very short space of time.
5 Schengen visas have been granted allowing a legal window to enter Spain, race and leave.
Nepal have a male and female team in a World Championship Competition! Certainly a first time for Nepal trail running.
Amazing AWOO team running clothing has arrived.
A crew of three will be there to support the race with two vehicals.
Less good news is this:
Two visa applications were rejected and one athlete, Purna Tamang, will, currently, not go to Spain. Purna’s crime: not having been to a Schengen country before! The three other athletes with identical applications, who’d been issued Schengen visas before, were all approved. So it goes.
Chhechee Sherpa just won the Mustang Trail Race, 170 km of day to day stage running over a week. She’s in very good condition!
After applying for the visa, for just an eight day period, and assuming it would be approved, or rather not possibly imagining it would be denied, she went to the Mustang Trail Race. On return two weeks later, collecting her passport it became clear that it did not have a visa in it. Very disappointing.
Thanks to the work of a diplomatic Spanish friend, the opportunity was created to challenge the decisions, but for Chhechee first to try make a complete team of three women.
A flight ticket to Delhi was bought at short notice to visit the Spanish embassy, a pick up from the airport arranged, a hotel, an assistant and a plan.
Unfortunately Chhechee did not know to arrive absolute minimum an hour before the flight to check in, and, armed with her full dossier of extra supporting information, check-in was closed. Oops.
Determined to make this work, a new flight ticket was arranged from Nepal Airlines fabulously un-modern office at the end of New Road.
A long story short, Chhechee managed to secure her visa. Purna Tamang however still has no visa and we’re working on that.
Bhim Gurung 2018
Bhim was 2nd place in Skyrunning World Extreme Series in 2017. In September 2017 Bhim began 12 months of service with the UN Peacekeeping forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a contract made a year before.
After 98 days and around 50 emails going back and forth with various people within Nepal Army and UNIFIL, the UN Peacekeeping Agency in Lebanon, the condensed response below put an end to Bhim’s hopes of racing this year, until after September 18 at least.
“Concerning Bhim Bahadur it is impossible as he is under the UN command. He should have declined for peace keeping mission. Sorry to say so. Regards ————“
That’s very sad. Bhim had made it to Salomon’s RESERVE team.
He was due to run the following races:
Mont Blanc Marathon
Maybe he will get to Glen Coe. Let’s see what the future brings for Bhim…
For many athletes, it is a dream to run representing their country in an international competition. Of course only a select few, the best in their country, get the chance. That also assumes that if you are the best in your country at a sport, you will get to compete at that level. That’s not necessarily true for Nepal, and especially Nepal’s trail runners.
Without going into details, there is no functioning structure in Nepal to support trail athletes and so technically speaking, they are not going anywhere.
So in this vacuum we’ve pulled together a plan and it is an expensive one, but if it works will have two teams, male and female, representing this mountainous country, which is thoroughly crisscrossed by amazing trails between its thousands of hillside villages, for the first time.
Why the Trail World Championships?
Given that Trail Running is not an Olympic sport yet (and many people are not looking forward to see how the Olympics might mangle this wild-ish sport into a for-TV format) the Trail World Championships is the highest level at which these runners can race. Additionally it is a team race, which is fairly rare, and this gives the athletes a better chance to represent their country and themselves in the team category.
Will Mira Rai and Sunmaya Budha run?
Neither will. Mira has a race calendar for 2018 with Salomon and Sunmaya is wisely staying with shorter races, which is where her talent lies. More about her later.
Who will run? What about the race? How to contribute?
Glad you asked! Here’s a handy website explaining these two things! Click the link below to proceed!
Hope you can contribute a little to the cost and the support the 7 runners online on the 12th of May 2018.
Not everyone can be first of course – that’s sport. But not everyone who’s first can finish on such a fabulous finish line.
Before reading on, here’s a video of Sunmaya finishing. Super! Congratulations and thank you to the GaoLiGong organisers for a first class event.
The Gao Li Gong event is partnered with the UTMB organisation in France. While the terrain is different to UTMB, it offers challenging courses through some beautiful landscapes, with the quality standard of UTMB applied.
Based on Sunmaya’s previous performances in Hong Kong, and Chamonix last summer, she was invited to compete in the 50 km race, the THT “Tea and Horse Trail”.
Anyone at the event will have been impressed by the start. Under the huge arch in the square of Tengchong, smoke machines and amplifiers created an excited atmosphere resembling a rock band about to come on stage. Elite runners were invited on stage wave to the amassed pack of regular athletes. For Sunmaya, a pretty exciting start to the day.
Early on in the race, at checkpoint 1, pictured below, Sunmaya was already at pace and around 7th position. Too fast maybe? TNF athlete Meredith Edwards was some 10 minutes back in 2nd position.
All turned out to be well. Sunmaya maintained the pace throughout the course, moving fast on the uphills and taking ground on the descents. At checkpoints she waited seconds only, grabbing some liquid and keeping moving. 2nd woman was way behind, but Sunmaya ran it like she would be caught at any moment.
At the finish, Sunmaya looked reasonably fresh, and very happy. The finish was a similar show, with one of China’s TV Sports announcers entertaining the crowd with the rousing GaoLiGong Ultra Trail theme tune being played in the background.
Congratulations Sunmaya! Do you think that winning Gaoligong was your best result in a running race so far? Why?
-Yes, definitely! The finish time was good but unlike last year when I was suffering as I run; this year I didn’t even know the race was done!
What was your plan for the race?
I was going for the podium for sure. Richard Bull was with me, so I was tense. As I said, last year [at Wulong] due to various reasons I could not perform as I wanted. This year with more experience, being more familiar with 50 km and better trained, my plan was to do my best. That would help me with more opportunities in future.
What do you think about when you run in the lead? Are you stressed? Worried?
Being in lead there are many strong runners chasing you all through the course so I was tense and felt I had to run hard and do my best.
The woman in second, Meredith Edwards, is a world class runner, but you beat her by over an hour. Was she close to you during the race?
I rarely look back when I race, I didn’t see her since the start. I would have loved to run some of the trail with her and learn from her.
Did you find the Gaoligong race course easy or hard?
Last year, it was my first race in China in Wulong and I had problems. I had some bad food before the race and I vomited during the race and got very cold and tired. This year I was enjoying the course very much. After the 4th checkpoint, I was slightly worried about my muscles but the trail was easy. It was one of my best runs.
How did you prepare for Gaoligong race, what training did you do?
I did some interval training. Some up and downs every day. Nothing specific, i just ran around the hills of Kathmandu.
You won Stupa to Stupa three weeks after Gaoligong, did you feel tired still?
I haven’t done many races in Nepal so even though I was tired I went for it.
How long did you spend after Gaoligong before starting to train again?
I rested for five days then I had to go back to the hills with my shoes. The hills around Kathmandu are my playground.
What was your favourite thing about Gaoligong race?
Trail marking was beautiful and the atmosphere. Food was much better this time. And, I loved the trophy!
What did you like about Tengchong (the place where Gaoligong was held) ?
The place reminded me of my home, Jumla. The hills and forest. It was better with Richard there to take care of certain things. He was a guardian.
Everyone at Gaoligong misses you – Pavel, Yishi, Samantha, Nathan, Daniel. Do you have anything to say to them? We all want you to learn English soon so that we can talk to each other.
I miss them so much and am as grateful. Without them the race for me was only a dream. I didn’t know english or chinese. They were at the checkpoints which gave me an energy and will to run better. Their presence and company was a joy.
I am doing best with my english classes as well!
Are you back in training now? What is your training plan for a week?
Yes, I am. Lizzy Hawker and Mira Rai have given me an effective plan. I have started rock climbing as well. I run every day but not more than 10 km. One 30 km once a week.
Are you back in Kathmandu or in Jumla?
I am in Kathmandu for my english lessons.
What are your future plans for racing and training?
I want run more at the moment. Get some good racing done and win, hopefully. I am looking for some sponsorship. With it I will have some freedom to pursue my dreams. I want to teach and train the younger generation some day.
Are your family proud of you and support you?
I come from a traditional background so running was not encouraged. I was asked by my parents to pay more attention to my school but now they are happier with my goals. I bring home many medals. They are proud but still want me to improve my english.
Do people recognise you on the street in Nepal now? : ) like they recognise sister Mira)
I am not as popular as sister Mira. Still, i have people who support me everywhere. It make me happy.
Which race do you most like to run in the future? (UTMB, etc)
Skyrunning and Golden Trail Series is my focus right now.
Saturday’s 54 km foot race on trails between two celebrated Buddhist stupas was won by a woman. Sunmaya Budha crossed the line at Boudha Stupa in 5:36:29. “She’s got great running style, she just flys,” said Roman Evarts of Lithuania, who was leading until taking a wrong route after 41 km.
72 runners started the 54 km race at 6:14 am from Swayambhu temple with the aim of finishing the route within 12 hours, which most achieved.
“Thank you for an incredible introduction to Nepal, I flew in from Hong Kong to run this race and I was not disappointed. The trails were such a pleasure to run and the race was impeccably organised, with clear markings and great CPs. I can’t wait to come back and race again with Trail Running Nepal,” said Tanya Bennet from Hong Kong.
Here’s Mira Rai posting her own good wishes for Sunmaya.
Sunmaya last competed in the Manaslu Trail Race, which was held last November. She beat Skyrunning World Champion Ragna Debats, which was great for Sunmaya’s ITRA ranking, though Ragna was far from on form with a painful stomach problem for the duration of the race.
Sunmaya was lucky enough to benefit from one month of training in Malaysia with the family of Lloyd Belcher.
The course at Gaoligong is not too hilly and is fast. Will it suit Sunmaya, let’s see. She comfortable around the 55 km mark and stated she is not ready for distances longer than this.
I signed up for this race at the last minute and within a week I found myself climbing the 365 steps to the starting line at Swayambhunath – also called “Monkey Temple”.
Waiting for sunrise and the start I saw monkeys eating breakfast and locals completing their morning koras around the main temple.
I was happy to see clear skies. Kathmandu can be incredibly smoggy but today was clear. I started daydreaming about the impending views of the Himalayas and the city.
The race started by dropping from Swayambhunath’s steps and across Ring Road before quickly climbing steeply out of chaotic Kathmandu to the first of many temples. I was happy to get the steepest climb over with early; however, a poor young “flat lander” from Australia running with me, participating in his first ultra, was struggling to maintain a conversation. He had never been at altitude and after a few kilometres he was forced to take my advice and slow his pace.
After cresting the first hill we began the most enjoyable portion of the course, a gradual descent in the dense Nagarjun Forest Reserve. Kathmandu felt a thousand miles away. I chatted with a few other runners and the kilometres passed easily.
Shortly after the first checkpoint, around 23km, I caught up with a small group of runners debating the way – apparently a local village kid had taken the bright pink ribbon. We decided to go left at the fork, apparently this was the wrong choice and an old man whistled and pointed us in the other direction. I was happy for the company. We shared food, water, sun cream, and words of encouragement but some of us were feeling better than others and we separated along the long, steady climb to Danda Gaon (2,200 metres) in Shivapuri National Park.
I was alone again when I got the best views of the Himalayas. The amazing checkpoint crews along the way kept me provided much needed company along with plenty of water, juice, and bananas. At one point I scared a monkey off the path with my footfall. His surprise at seeing me let me know that the previous runner must have passed some time before me.
Before long I arrived at Nagi Gumba, around 45km, signifying the end of the major climbing (2,330 metres). It was literally downhill from here.
The steep descent was coloured blue, white, red, green, and yellow with prayer flags and temples almost the entire downhill, and I started to see locals again which told me the end was getting close.
After all the climbing the downhill was particularly difficult but upon arriving at the outskirts of Kathmandu I found the reserve energy necessary to run the entirety of the final few kilometres. Still, returning to the chaotic city was a shock to the system after 50 kilometres in the forest.
The beer at the rooftop bar overlooking Boudhanath and the finish line tasted particularly good. There is something about covering 53km on your legs in one day in the Himalayan foothills that makes everything taste better. I had intended to count the number of temples along the route but somewhere along the way I lost track. I noticed too that I hadn’t recorded all of my splits. This, I convinced myself, was for the best – perhaps the particulars are not as important as it was to embrace the experience.
If you are a trail runner visiting or living in Nepal, Pokhara is a great base for runners. While living in Nepal I competed in two ultramarathons (Kathmandu Ultra and Stupa to Stupa) and one stage race (Mustang Trail Race) which obviously required a good amount of training.
For starters, Pokhara is a quick bus from some of Nepal’s most iconic treks outside of the Everest region including Annapurna Round, Annapurna Base Camp, and Poon Hill. These are great for building endurance and altitude acclimatization. Taking running shoes along is possible but after a long day’s trek most people are happy enough to relax in the lodge with a warm cup of tea.
There are a great deal of running options from the hotels along Lakeside or Damside where most people stay including the paths and roads along the lake. It is possible to run around Fewa Lake but be sure to take water and food as there are not many shops along the way.
My favourite escapes from lakeside are the climbs to the World Peace Pagoda (1,100 metres) and Sarangkot (1,600 metres). Both offer great views of the Annapurna range on clear days.
The pagoda is roughly 7 km each way from lakeside whereas the run/trek to Sarangkot is steeper and longer – between 10 or 12 km each way, depending on the route.
Where I lived, however, was a bit away from the lake and on the outskirts of the city. In order to run these routes would add a few km in both directions. The neighbourhood where I lived, Malepatan, had easy access to the Methlang Forest.
On clear days the mountains would call me from the roof of my house so I would need to run up the nearest ridge for a better look.
It was here were I would do most of my runs. The forest is small but it has a series of pleasant, interconnected trails with runnable ascents.
Another option is to take a quick bus or taxi to Bengas Lake where to run part of the Annapurna 100 course. Lastly, any visit to Pokhara for a mountain runner and trekker would not be complete without a trip to the International Mountain Museum.
Sudeep Kandel and Seth Wolpin, co-owners of Himalayan Adventure Labs (HAL), report a recent attempt at what they call the ‘Langtang Lollipop’. The two set the FKT for the Manaslu Circuit in 2015 and have a number of successful fast packing adventures under their belt.
The original plan – a lollipop course. Maybe next time!
For this adventure, their goal was to leave Kathmandu on foot and travel north on the Helambu trail before starting a giant clockwise circle that would take them through Gosaikung, across Lauribina Pass, up the Langtang Valley, and then south via the remote and rarely visited Kanja La before returning on foot to Kathmandu. They co-led a group of 6 people, all endurance runners, and traveled in their usual fast pack style: quick, light, and self-supported. Unfortunately, the team ran into deep snow on Kanja La and had to back-track and exit the Langtang Valley from Syrabu Besi.
Tangled rhododendron forest on the way to Yangri peak
This was their second attempt on this route, last October the two tried to do it from the other direction after acclimating by leading their annual fast pack on the Annapurna Circuit. While they made it over Kanja La, they were unable to travel as planned at night due to lingering monsoon rains and had to exit the valley from Syrabu Besi after running out of time. The two are now recruiting for another team to attempt this route in 2018 – planning 13 days on trail, including acclimatization days, and departure in late May when snow levels are lower in the passes. They are also organizing a number of other small group, cultural, fast packs in Nepal – all designed for trail runners. Check out their website www.himalayadventurelabs.com for more information or follow them on facebook: www.facebook.com/himalayanadventurelabs
Here we have some news in from the world of endurance athletes who like to travel long distances with little sleep and test their personal boundaries.
The letter received:
### START ###
Greetings from Greece,
On 28-April-2017, an athlete of our team achieved a new FKT of the classic route of Annapurna Circuit completely by foot.
Because of that, it is important for him and our general effort to validate this record and communicate this achievement in order to accomplish the purpose of this effort which is the support of a Greek institution “Κιβωτός του Κόσμου” , http://www.kivotostoukosmou.org/eng/ which help orphans and single-parent children of Greece.
We are sending to you the corresponding proof of Lefteris Paraskevas‘ record as well as information about his total effort in order to receive a validation of that record.
Lefteris Paraskevas achieved running the circuit in 68 hours and 22 minutes starting from Besisahar in 28-April-2017 at 6:00 am, following all the classic route of Annapurna Circuit and finishing it in 1-May-2017 at 2:22 am beating the previous record of 72 hours from Mr Seth Wolpin.
Most of his effort was documented in video from his friends so further proof can be sent upon request.
The whole effort was supported and followed by a representative of A-TREKKING TEAM, Mr Sona Goparma [ tel: 9805938631], a Sherpa of the agency.
Lefteris Paraskevas started running in 28/4/2017 at 6:00 am from the Bus Station of Besisahar
After 31 hours [45 minutes of total sleep] , Lefteris Paraskevas passed through Thorung La
Lefteris reached Nayapul Police station in May 1st, 2:22 am [with a total of 5.5 hours of sleep] and completed the circuit in presence of Sherpa Sona Goparma as representative of the travel agency A-Trekking Team and a police officer of the station.
Lefteris had legally a permit for this crossing which was validated in the checkpoints that were open during his cross. Information of this crossing exist into the checkpoints’ record.
Please inform us if this record can be validated and if further proof is needed please send to us a list of the appropriate proof.
### END ###
Congratulations Lefteris!! While for this kind of FKT effort, there is no official validation, we’re happy to publish this on these pages so that others will know the current state of Annapurna FKT.
A guest post from Tyler Wasson describing the Mardi Himal trek experience. Want to go here? Fill the form at the bottom and Pokhara-based Freedom Adventures will help you out.
I have been living in Nepal for seven months and as a trail runner, I like to get off the beaten path whenever possible. During my first few months along a more common trekking route to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) I spotted other trekkers along a ridge to our west. After some investigation, I discovered they were heading to Mardi Himal Base Camp (MHBC) and I added it to my “Must Trek” list, however I did not get the chance until five months later. This March a group of friends and I carved out the time and made the trek.
A Jeep took us from Pokhara to the village of Landruk (1,620 metres), which can also be easily reached from ABC making this a great add-on to that trek.
That first day we undertook the short and steep 800 metre climb to Forest Camp (2,630 metres), staying at a small lodge by ourselves. In March the rhododendron trees were blooming, and though the jungle was a little bit dry there were still plenty of ferns, mushrooms, forest flowers, and evergreens, as well as a viewpoint overlooking the eastern side of the Annapurna Himal.
Want to find out more about how to do this trek?
Enquire about Mardi Himal trek facilitation
Don't have long, this is a great trek to do to get up close to the mountains after walking through gorgeous forest. You can make it from two days to probably five. You need permits and transport arranging however....
Next day we lunched at Low Camp (2,990 metres). But we pushed on past “Middle Camp” to High Camp (3,580 metres) for the night as just above Middle Camp you start getting views of the mountains, including Mardi Himal, Machapuchre (Fishtail), Annapurna South and Hiunchuli, plus the lodges at High Camp are better than Low Camp.
From High Camp it was a 2.5 hour climb up to MHBC (4,500 metres), walking along a ridge most of the way that deceptively makes you feel like you could just keep climbing just a few hours longer and summit Mardi Himal, however just a few metres beyond Base Camp it gets significantly more technical. A Frenchman ahead of us ventured only a few feet beyond the warning signs and fell into snow up to his shoulder; luckily his guide was there to rescue him. On the way up we came so close to Mardi Himal that Machapuchre disappeared with each snowy footprint.
While trekking through the jungle is beautiful what makes this trek unique is the sunrise and sunsets at High Camp and the views along with way to Base Camp and back. By walking along the ridge you have clear views of snowcapped peaks during the day and then of the sunset while sitting over the sea of clouds that block Pokhara and the Mardi Khola.
Mardi Himal truly is a hidden gem, one of the last so close to bustling Pokhara. The locals have started to catch on to this fact while few westerners have yet to. We saw double the number of Nepali trekkers than foreign ones. Despite being a “new” trek, the trails were clearly marked and well-maintained, that is until the descent.
On the way down we took a “new trail” suggested by one of the lodge owners that dropped us roughly 1,700 metres in six hours through step dry spring beds to the village of Sidhing, which is large enough to have a few places to sleep. We asked around until we found a local couple willing to prepare us some noodle soups for lunch while we waited on the next Jeep back to Pokhara.
Just over 190 people registered and 160 of those actually got out of bed to run.
Mira Rai could not be there in person, but was on a cleverly designed lifesize selfie-board.
Mira Rai selfie
The course proved that entertaining, challenging trails can be found very close to the city. The series aims to hold short Saturday morning trail races on a monthly basis close to public transport stops.
Category results given below under the photos, but the link to the full table you can find here.
There were a few reports of short cutting from the first three participants. This would not affect the result and for this time we let the result stand. In future course design will keep checkpoints in places where a shortcut would be possible.
“Thank you very much organiser team for that excellent marking (Manish Tamang) #preeti didi was like ‘cherry on a cake'”
“I would like to thank all of you organizer, it was fun and management was excellent….”
“Thank you Trail Running Nepal and the team for organizing this amazing run …” – Team Nepal Dynamic Running Club
“Thank you too much trail running Nepal, great race! Congrats to the winners and participants!” – Jimi Oostrum
Thanks to the volunteers at the checkpoint and registration. Come join as a volunteer next time!
Sometimes this website receives nice and excitable messages about people’s recent journeys in Nepal. This one from Severin Wuensch in Germany linked to a video that strings together moment after moment of many of the best things Nepal has to offer mountain travellers. Watching it naturally makes you itch to head to these remote valleys. Severin comments, “Running through Nepal was the most crazy thing I did last year! But I loved it, I enjoyed it, and I would do it again. And here is what I saw during our journey up and down the mountains…” and then comes the video! More information about the running trip he was on here.
“Lots of shots into the sun!” says a sunglasses wearing friend. Yes, wasn’t the weather great!
Running at altitude is hard – how much running actually went on among the walking?! Most of the group I traveled with ran everything below 3700m. In general everybody was free to run or walk as much as he or she liked.
It looks deserted, there are very few people – what time of year did you go? We did the trip last year in November and we had no clouds at all until the last day, so that was great! Yes, it looks a little deserted at that time.
Any tips for someone who wants to film running? Take a camera that is as light as possible, don’t do what I did and do the entire track with a heavy camera gear in your hand ;-)
The treks in Nepal are famous for quickly changing landscapes, low-altitude lush river valleys, to super high altitude mountain scenery – which was your favorite section? I love these always changing landscapes, from jungle and rice fields to moon-like with no green at all. But the trail right before Manang was my favourite part, from the blue river to the green fields to the dirty trail to the white mountain tops, all in one picture.
Some say the Annapurna trail has been ruined by road development – what is your feeling about that?
As long as the treks on the other river side are still there I don’t think it’ll ruin the track, I didn’t notice the road that much.
Finally, why did you put the effort in to make this short film? I enjoy making those kind of short films about traveling the world, and Nepal is such a great place to film at, I could point my camera anywhere and just press record and it would look great! Making those short films enables me to travel the countries I want to see, and watching my own videos enables me to relive these incredible experiences I had there. And it’s great that I can share this with other people around the world and I hope to encourage them to visit this beautiful country as well.
“This 18 year old girl is really impressive,” say Salomon Running on Twitter. That’s a big thing to hear from the world’s biggest and best trail running sports team. That came midway through the MSIG Lantau 50km race in Hong Kong last weekend (December 4th). And then this at the finish line, “Sunmaya finish 2nd of her first 50km race!! What an amazing girl ????Congratulations!!!”
But don’t forget Purna Laxmi Neupane. Sunmaya 2nd behind the current trail running world champion, and Purna coming on 4th not too far behind an Adidas sponsored athlete. Both just 18, both running their first 50 km distance on a particularly tough course. Normally both are training for athletics events, for 5, 10 or 21 km races, which of course are on road or track.
It’s another result for connecting talent with opportunity. Sunmaya and Purna came to the Manaslu Trail Race in November after wins in short distances at the Kathmandu Ultra and Godawari Running Festival. Manaslu is a stage race, and the rest of the competitors watched these two girls push hard day after day, beating the times of winners of previous years. It was clear there was talent that needed a bigger opportunity.
And so Hong Kong. Mira Rai came second in this same race in 2014, but is recovering from injury. Would she take them to Hong Kong and mentor them for the race? “Yes, why not. Very great!” was Mira’s predictable response. And so with favours called from all directions, after a busy 5 or 6 days, the girls had a new passport, a Hong Kong visa, and paid for flight tickets, and an amazing experience ahead of them.
We can talk about meeting the sea for the first time, or discovering that it is salty, and all of the wonderful things that happened, including proving their talent and winning prizes.
But in this short space, better to remark on their courage. Both are young girls from a remote mountain area, and to be running, as they do with Karnali Sports Club, is a breakthrough in itself. What they are doing is showing that women can do whatever men do and more, going directly against ingrained patriarchal attitudes. Here Sunmaya speaks with the Chinese News Agency in Kathmandu.
“My family is against my choice of getting into sports. Rather, they want me to settle down. But I want to continue my studies and and become a national player some day. I hope they would change their mind then.”
Saroj Shahi is a coordinator at Karnali Sports Club, founded by Nepali running legend Hari Rokaya, said to Xinhua,
“We are on the drive to engage more and more number of young girls into sports to help them fight illiteracy, discrimination and social stigmas. The craze is increasing gradually and we are hopeful that it will bring positive changes soon.”
Saroj sent photos from the club training in all seasons, posted in the gallery below.
Their aim is worth supporting. Lizzy Hawker recently dedicated her 42-day, 1600 km Great Himalaya Trail epic to raising money to enable girls to run. Her fund is still open, and you can add a donation to it. It’s not just about running, or winning, but changing attitudes, widening horizons and improving lives. It’s important.
Once again congratulations to Sunmaya and Purna Laxmi. Amazing women!
Bhim: The Nepalese soldier Bhim Gurung, roughly 35 years old, started to distinguish himself last January, winning the 80k +4000m elevation Kathmandu Ultra, organized by Richard Bull of Trail Running Nepal (www.trailrunningnepal.org). Although his military high level of fitness does not surprise anyone in Nepal, the organizer’s eye was cast on Bhim and he knows that the only way to help these amazing athletes is to go through the long expensive procedures to obtain a visa to get them compete outside their country. A country where running is contemplated on the track (and not for women). Let alone the trail running or skyrunning …
BHUM: three months later in April, after winning the chance to compete at the Yading Skyrace after winning the January 80km race, Bhim flies to the first Skyrace in China for the Skyrunning World Series. Bhim honours it with a sprint win over Tadei Pivik, the defending world champion.
Bhim Bahadur Gurung
BHAM: yet 3 months later, Bhim, accustomed to the military practices and not to bureaucratic procedures, is refused the visa twice, and sees the entire Summer racing season in Europe fade away, until he manages finally collect a 12 day Schengen visa in mid-August. Two days after arrival he was launched on the route of Ultraks as warm up after the long journey, and with jet lagged legs finishes “only” 11th.
Debilitated by cough he arrives in Val Masino, Italy for the infamous Trofeo Kima just a few days later. Drinking hot water and honey and doing some reconnaissance of the first and last part in the hot sun turns out to be the best cure. On the eve of the race, after being alone on the last 5 km of the course, he took his leave for the night with “I am ready, Sister.”
The rest is now history: in long sleeves,with backpack, and some gear lent to him by Mira, Bhim starts 5th, moves to 3rd at halfway, and in the last kilometers downhill makes 1st, and, crossing the finish line, is the new course record holder.
Without a watch. 6 hours 10 minutes. While Marco de Gasperi collapses, Bhim borrows a bicycle to retrace those last 5km from San Martino to “loosen his legs.” Three hours later he’s at Milan airport to return to Kathmandu: his visa expires, like a Cinderella ending to his story, at midnight.
With the year’s longest day* already behind us, the days will be shorten all the way to November! In November in Nepal, a typical day can look like this:
Natalia Roman-Lopez running down from 4500m.
There are many races listed on this site. Trail Running Nepal organises this one! With four clear months to go, time to try to fill the last few places and by mentioning why this event is a great choice and clarifying a few things that people often ask.
“For me it was really my best trail running experience since more than 20 years of trail running!” said Stephan Tassani-Prell in his feedback of the race.
There are still a few places left – up to 8 more to be exact. – so if you’re considering joining in November, let us know quickly!
Here are a few things you might like to know about the race.
Tough challenge or not?
Some people see the images on the website and assume it is an event for elites. It’s worth spelling out that this is still a challenge but it is not about suffering – more about enjoying running through this amazing landscape, and enjoying the company of the people you’re with.
You don’t have to carry a heavy pack – just your day’s running pack: energy, water and something warm to wear at the stage finish until your bags arrive.
You’ll sleep indoors on a mattress every night, no tents or floors. You can really get some sleep and recover.
We cook all the food for you and lots of it. No need to bring dehydrated meals, unless you want to.
The longest stage is reduced to 32km this year. With the elevation change, altitude and day after day, most people are not wishing for more by the end.
The field usually is a mix of regular, enthusiastic trail runners, with some accomplished runners and occasional (semi-)professional runners. The local runners we invite run to win! A few people come to hike the route.
This time last year, after the earthquake, the race was fully in doubt. Along with great damage to buildings, the landslides damaged trails and continued to pose danger as the monsoon rains fell. It wasn’t until late September that we could conduct an assessment of the trails and hotels. By 1st October, when the rains had finally stopped, teams of local villagers were on the trails clearing new routes around or across landslides. This was positive news for the participants, and more so the race staff who were keen to get working and earn a living again. Tourism, and so work, had ground almost to a halt in this area and so we were pleased to be able to send our recce report to trekkers and agencies and play a part to get tourism started again. For the race, apart from a few makeshift bridges, the trails were good and hotels also in good condition.
Check-in Check-out Checkpoints
A few races do this, and more races should! How can four competitors in a race stage take time to do this? (Photo below.) Because it’s a check-in, check-out point. Certain places are too amazing and to allow you to enjoy them, we have a checkpoint where you can stay a while the clock is stopped. It’s the same rule for everyone and you can stay for 10 seconds, or 1 hour, it’s up to you. Below is Pungyen Gompa, a small monastery on a plateau at 4400m (14,500ft) with the enormous East face of Manaslu rising up nearly 4km from it. There is a second CICO checkpoint below Manaslu Basecamp where you can gaze at Manaslu across it’s glacier.
Like race organisers Les Chevaliers du Vent and the Everest Marathon, we invite local runners to Manaslu. Some for the racing experience, others just for the trip of a lifetime. In 2015 two of the invited runners came all the way from remote Jumla – Bishnu Maya Budha and Dipendra Bam.
Bishnu to go to Hong Kong! (c) Mark Brightwell.
Bishnu Maya, first place in her first international race.
Bishnu ran really well, consistently stage after stage, so much so that we thought it was worth trying to send her to race in Hong Kong in December last year. There she won the Vertical Kilometer and placed 5th in the 50km after a fall. She came home with more than US$1000 in her pocket and some great running shoes. Dipendra and Bishnu later placed first at the Kathmandu Ultra in January and won a trip to China to run in the Yading Skyrace. It’s great to be able to help give opportunities like this to young talents.
Giving to the local community
“Run for light” is the race’s strapline. Things are improving, but still many people lack access to electricity or light. The race itself makes a donation of solar lights in one of the villages we pass through in coordination with a charity that does this, and a sum for the maintenance of Samdo’s (highest Tibetan village in the valley) micro-hydro generator. To do a little bit more last year, we raised over $5000 for more lights – you can read below. We’ll be doing the same this year too.
Mira in Italy – running in Italy earlier this year.
Not everything has gone to plan in 2016 for Mira Rai, and the plan was to follow the Skyrunning Ultra Series in Spain and Portugal.
“Unfortunately this year I got injured running in a race in the UK. I tried the next race in Spain, but my leg was not feeling good. After returning to training place in Italy, the pain did not go away, and after checking with the doctor and having an MRI scan, they informed me I should stop running and rest until the pain is gone.” The diagnosis showed a small fracture in the fibula. After more than a month, Mira reported that there is still some pain coming back after running.
Several years ago Mira injured her knee in an accident. The Salomon physio, ArnaudTortel, informed Mira that a cruciate ligament was fully torn. She had no idea. Running on her unstable knee was fine because of the strength of her legs muscles and her balance and agility. But running competitively for any period of time like this is not a good idea.
Surgery was always the plan, it was just a matter of when. “Now it is a good time to fix my knee so I can run 100%,” says Mira. “After surgery, I will need minimum four months recovery before starting to run again. I hope early next year (2017) I will be ready to start training hard and will have full power.”
Mira also wants to say, “Big thank you to all my supporters. Thank you for your messages. I hope to see you wherever you are soon,” and thanks to Salomon Running for support with this and her friends in Italy who are helping her though this process.
Mira became the runner-up losing the title to Emelie Forsberg of Sweden.
Tell me more about the races this year….
Mira will run the following races in the series this year –
Transvulcania Ultramarathon (Spain) – May 7th
The race is somewhere between 73-75 km, that includes 4,350 m of ascent crossing the major volcano making up the island of La Palma, Spain.
Emelie Forsberg won it last year.
Madeira Ultra (Portugal) – June 4th
Technical race over steep slopes of Madeira Island, 55 km long with 4,000 m vertical climb.
Skyrunning has come to Portugal for the 1st time in this series. Last year’s 3rd race of the series Tromsø SkyRace was held in Norway. Mira came second, 13 minutes behind Emelie Forsberg, finishing the race in 7:23:09 hrs.
Buff Epic – July 22 which is a 105km race featuring 8,000 m ascent around Aiguestortes National Park in Catalonia, Spain. This is also the Skyrunning World Championship so a big race for Mira.
Ultra Pirineu (Spain) – 24th September
This is the last race of the series, a 110 km mountain run with 6,800 vertigal gain, held in Barcelona. Runners competing for the prize will get 20% extra points.
Mira came 2nd last year behind Emelie Forsberg and ahead of Nuria Picas.
She finished her race in 13:43:49, just 4 minutes behind Emelie.
Wow, Emelie looks to be very strong. Can Mira run faster than her this year?
Emelie is not running the series this year, as she has withdrawn from the competition due to knee injury.
But it won’t be easy for Mira, as New Zealand runner Anna Frost is back this year.
Who is Anna Frost?
Anna is 2012 and 2014 Transvalcunia champ. When she turns up fit in the starting line up, she is a favourite.
Injury kept her out of running last year. On the course of her recovery, she found herself in Nepal, where she joined a 15 day stage race. Frost was rejuvenated by this and in a recent interview, she said this about Nepal –
“These people in Nepal have absolutely nothing but a whole lot of love and family and friends–and they’re willing to share that with you,” she says. “You’re up at 4,000 meters and it’s another 4,000 meters above you; you’re the size of a pea, and I find that incredibly empowering. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, physically and mentally.”
Back from the hip injury, she has won Hard Rock 100 race recently.
It’s going to be really tough then…..
Yes, it is. Not only her, the top contenders for the podium are Spain’s Anna Comet, last year’s runner up at Mont Blanc which Mira won; Spain’s Uxue Fraile, USA’s Alicia Shay, Kiwi Ruth Croft etc.
So can Mira better her position from last year?
Time will tell. She is strong enough to do it. But, the most important thing for her is to enjoy the race.
And the best thing we can do is to support her.
She has already made us proud and has inspired many people around the world.
Thanks for the opportunity China Mountain Trails, says Bhim Gurung fresh back from the Yading Skyrace in China. There he took on Italian Tadei Pivk, the 2015 World Skyrunning and beat him into second place. “I tried as hard as I could, but he (Gurung) was so fast on the downhill, I couldn’t keep up,” said Pivk. This is one of the natural talents of Nepali runners that makes them competitive. Being born and raised walking hillside trails develops a downhill ability that almost looks innate.
Bhim had been spent 3 days training at 2900m altitude in Jomsom, Mustang for the event. It was to be longer, but his visa application meant that he had to return to Kathmandu to attend the visa office.
Winners Bhim Gurung with Megan Kimmel.
Bhim’s colleagues Bishnu Maya Budha and Dipendra Bam also performed well coming in at 5th and 8th respectively.
All three got the opportunity through an association between Trail Running Nepal and China Mountain Trails. The winners of the Kathmandu Ultra 50km and 80km events would be given the opportunity to race at one of the CMT events, an opportunity for which these three runners are fantastically grateful.
She has a point and doesn’t it just make for an uplifting story?
Lloyd Belcher and Mira Rai are now both very pleased and excited that finally the time came when they could announce that, “the Mira Rai film is available for viewing!”
It came after more than a year of hard work. While Lloyd was editing filmed material, and learning during the process, Mira was rapidly updating her story – she wouldn’t stay still.
“I like so much this film! WOW amazing hard work Lloyd Brother! Thank you thank you!” said Mira after watching the 42 minute movie yesterday. She and Lloyd sincerely hope you will enjoy it too.
All Vimeo rental sales will go directly towards funding the screening of ‘Mira’ around Nepal and to empower and encourage Nepalese girls to participate in sports. Soon, in Nepal a free version will be available to watch on Youtube – details to follow.
What other’s are saying about this trail running film
“Among the many ultrarunning movies, this one is a real gem. Fascinating to watch Mira Rai’s journey from growing up in the remote countryside poverty to competing with, and winning against, the worlds best in the sport. Brilliant movie.” – Andre Blumberg, HK.
“Just finished watching the film, absolutely loved it. So uplifting…..makes me want to run up a mountain right now!” –Holly Rush, Ultra Runner
“Amazing movie about an amazing, gentle, humble woman. An inspiration for women in and outside of nepal. Beautiful shots of nepal and other incredible ultra trails.” – groupmapping
« The race you can see from the moon… » (Avril – Mai 2017)
Day 1. (31-03). Départ de Paris (50 m) or another city.
Day 2. (01-04). Arrivée Kathmandu (1350 m).
Day 3. (02-04). Administratifs, contrôles et préparatifs : sacs ravitaillement, trek, compétition et expédition (*1). Day 4. (03-04). Katmandou (1350 m) – Taplejung (1820 m) en avion.
Day 5. (04-04). Trek. Taplejung (1820 m) – Mitlung (921 m) – Sinwa (980 m) – Chiruwa (1270 m). 6 h. Lodge ou tente.
Day 6. (05-04). Trek. Chiruwa (1250 m) – Lelep (1750 m) – Sakethum (1576 m). 8 h. Tente.
Day 7. (06-04). Trek. Sakathum (1640 m) – Kyapra (2730 m). 7 h. Tente.
Day 8. (07-04). Trek. Kyapra (2730 m) – Ghunsa (3595 m). 7 h. Tente.
Day 9. (08-04). Trek. Ghunsa (3595 m) – Khamgpachen (4050 m). 4 h. Tente. Day 10. (09-04).Trek.Khamgpachen (4050 m) – Ramtang (4370 m). 2 h. Tente.
Marche d’acclimatation jusqu’à Lhonak (4780 m) en aller/retour. 3 h.
Day 11. (10-04). Trek de Ramtang (4370 m) jusqu’au Camp de Base du Kanchenjunga (Pang Bema, 5140 m). 4 h. Start Great Himal Race du Kanchenjunga (Pang Bema, 5140 m). Stage 1. Kanchenjunga BC (5140 m) – Ghunsa (3595 m) 4 à 8 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 12. (11-04). Stage 2. Ghunsa (3595 m) – Nango La (4776) – Yangma Khola (3430) – Deurali (2800 m) – Olangchung Gola (3191 m). 8 à 12 h. Lodge ou tente. Ravitaillement personnel N° 1. (GHT High Route).
Day 13. (12-04). Stage 3. Olangchung Gola (3191 m) – Lumba Samba Phedi (Pass Camp, 4453 m). 6 h à 8 h.Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 14. (13-04). Stage 4. Lumba Samba Phedi (4453) – Col (5250) – Lumbha Samba (5159 m) – Thudam (3356). 8 à 10 h (+900 m, -2000 m). Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 15. (14-04). Stage 5. Thudam (3556 m) – Hikchu (Pont Arun River, 1800 m) – Chyamthang (2187 m). 7 h à 9 h (+1400 m, -2100 m). Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route & Main Trail).
Day 16. (15-04). Stage 6. Chyamthang (2187 m) – Chepuwa (2040 m) – Hatiya (1560 m) – Gola (1100 m). 7 h (+1300, – 2390 m). Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route & Main Trail).
Day 17. (16-04). Stage 7. Gola (1100 m) – Num (1530 m) – Dauj La (2100 m) – Kuwapani (2010 m). 8 à 10 h. Lodge ou tente. (Main Trail & GHT Cultural Trail).
Day 18. (17-04). Stage 8. Kuwapani (2010 m) – Khadbari (1040 m) – Arun River (315 m) – Simle (1000m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge ou tente. (Main Trail & GHT Cultural Trail).
Day 19. (18-04). Stage 9. Simle (1000 m) – Salewa (1400 m) – Salpa Phedi (1520 m) – Guranse (2700 m). 7 à 11 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT Cultural Trail).
Day 20. (19-04). Stage 10. Guranse (2700 m) – Salpa Bhanjyang (3414 m) – Gudel (1965 m) – Hongu Khola Bridge (1350 m) – Bung (1620 m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT Cultural Trail).
Day 21. (20-04). Stage 11. Bung (1620 m) – Surke La (3085 m) – Inkhu Khola (1650 m) – Sinuje (2600 m) – Narkung La (Pankongma, 3180 m) – Panggom (2900 m). 8 à 11 h. Tente. (GHT Cultural Trail).
Day 22. (21-04). Stage 12. Panggom (2900 m) – Khari La (3045 m) – Chutok La (2945 m) – Phakding (2610 m). 7 h à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT Cultural Trail & Main Trail).
Day 23. (22-04). Stage 13. Phakding (2610 m) – Namche Bazar (3440 m) – Thame (3820) – Thyangbo (4230 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 2 à Namché. 5 à 7 h. Tente. (Main Trail & GHT High Route).
Day 24. (23-04). Stage 14. Thyangbo (4230 m) – Tashi Labsta (5755 m) – Na (4180 m). 9 à 14 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 25. (24-04). Stage 15. Na (4180 m) – Beding (3690 m) – Simigaon (2036 m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 26. (25-04). Stage 16. Simigaon (2036 m) – Chhetchhet (1377 m) – Jagat (1150 m) – Orangdanda (2029 m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 27. (26-04). Stage 17. Orangdanda (2029 m) – Loting (1768 m) – Bigu Gompa (2516 m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 28. (27-04). Stage 18. Bigu Gompa (2516 m) – Tinsang La (3778 m) – Chaku (The Last Resort) (1170 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 3 à Chaku. 7 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 29. (28-04). Stage 19. Chaku (The Last Resort) (1170 m) – Listi (2260 m) – Chogormogor Kharka (3925 m) – Kyangsin (2520 m) – Nyasem Khola (Camp, 1860 m). 7 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 30. (29-04). Stage 20. Nyasem Khola (Camp, 1860 m) – Tembathang (2160 m) – Chedupa Kharka (2513 m) – Panch Pokhari (Shiva Temple, 4070 m) – Tin Pokhari (4255 m). 7 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 31. (30-04). Tin Pokhari (4255 m). Jour de sécurité. Safety Day.
Day 32. (01-05). Stage 21. Tin Pokhari (4255 m) – Tilman’s Pass (5308 m) – Kyangjin Gompa (3830 m). 9 à 14 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 33. (02-05). Stage 22. Kyangjin Gompa (3830 m) – Langtang (3430 m) – Syabru Besi (1503 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 4 à Syabru Besi. 8 à 11 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 34. (03-05). Stage 23. Syabru Besi (1503 m) – Khurpudanda La (3710 m) – Somdang (3258 m). 6 à 8 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 35. (04-05). Stage 24. Somdang (3258 m) – Pang Sang Bhanjyang (3830 m) – Tipling (1890 m) – Borang (1560 m) – Lapagaon (1850 m). 8 à 10 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 36. (05-05). Stage 25. Lapagaon (1850 m) – Mangro Bhanjyang (2936 m) – Myangal Bhanjyang (2975 m) – Machhakhola (869 m) – Tatopani (990 m). 7 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 37. (06-05). Stage 26. Tatopani (990 m) – Jagat (1340 m) – Prok (2397 m). 6 à 9 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 38. (07-05). Stage 27. Prok (2397 m) – Narumg (2630 m) – Sama Gaon (3520 m) – Samdo (3875 m). 7 à 14 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 39. (08-05). Stage 28. Samdo (3875 m) – Larkya Bhanjyang (5135 m) – Bimtang (3630 m) – Dharapani (1860 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 5 à Dharapani. 7 à 10 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 40. (09-05). Stage 29. Dharapani (1860 m) – Chame (2670 m) – Ghyaru (3670 m). 6 à 8 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 41. (10-05). Stage 30. Ghyaru (3670 m) – Manang (3540 m) – Thorung Phedi (4450 m). 4 à 6 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 42. (11-05). Stage 31. Thorung Phedi (4450 m) – Thorung La (5415) – Muktinath (3760) – Kagbeni (2810 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 6 à Kagbeni. 4 à 6 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 43. (12-05). Stage 32. Kagbeni (2810 m) – Jeula Danda Pass (4306 m) – Bhima Lojun La (4460 m) – Santa (3777 m) – Ghalden Ghuldun Khola Camp ( Camp, 4247 m). 6 à 8 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 44. (13-05). Stage 33. Ghalden Ghuldun Khola Camp (4247 m) – Jungben La (5550 m) – Niwas La (5120 m) – Chharka Bhot (4302). 8 à 11 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 45. (14-05). Stage 34. Chharka Bhot (4302) – Chan La (5378 m) – Dho Tarap (3944 m) – Modo (4233 m). 7 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 46. (15-05). Stage 35. Modo (4233 m) – Numala La South (5309 m) – Bagala La (5169 m) – Ringmo Phoksundo Lake (3640 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 7 à Ringmo. 8 à 12 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 47. (16-05). Stage 36. Ringmo Phoksundo Lake (3640 m) – Nagdola La (5350 m) – Shey Gompa (4343 m). 7 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 48. (17-05). Stage 37. Shey Gompa (4343 m) – Bhijer (3850 m) – Yambur La (4813 m) – Pho (4087 m). 6 à 8 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 49. (18-05). Stage 38. Pho (4087 m) – Nyingma Gyanzen La (5563 m) – Pung Kharka (4650 m) – Yala La (5414 m) – Takla Khola (Camp, 3785 m). 8 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 50. (19-05). Stage 39. Takla Khola (3785 m) – Chyargo La (5150 m) – Thajuchaur (Camp, 4050 m) – Tiyar (2418 m) 8 à 10 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 51. (20-05). Stage 40. Tiyar (2418 m) – Mangri (1950 m) – Gamgadhi (2095 m). Ravitaillement personnel N° 8 à Gamgadhi. 5 à 7 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 52. (21-05). Stage 41. Gamgadhi (2095 m) – Changhkeli La (3594 m) – Piplan (1700) – Melchham (2600 m). 8 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 53. (22-05). Stage 42. Melchham (2600 m) – Margor Lek Bhanjyang (4037 m) – Kharpel (3100 m). 8 à 10 h. Tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 54. (23-05). Stage 43. Kharpel (3100 m) – Simikot (2985 m) – Sangrak (2860 m). 7 à 9 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 55. (24-05). Stage 44. Sangrak (2860 m) – Taplung (3060 m) – Dhumbu (3073 m). 6 à 8 h. Lodge ou tente. (GHT High Route).
Day 56. (25-05). Arrival Great Himal Race. Stage 45. Dhumbu (3073 m) – Yarig (3663) – Nara La (4560) – Chor La (4107) – Hilsa (3647 m). 6 à 8 h. Lodge. (GHT High Route).
Day 57. (26-05). Hilsa (3647 m). Jour de sécurité. Safety Day.
Day 58. (27-05). Trek. Hilsa (3647 m) – Chor La (4107) – Nara La (4560) – Yarig (3663) – Dhumbu (3073 m). 8 h. Lodge ou tente.
Day 59. (28-05). Trek. Dhumbu (3073 m) – Taplung (3060 m) – Sangrak (2860 m). 8 h. Lodge ou tente.
Day 60. (29-05). Trek. Sangrak (2860 m) – Dharapor (2360 m) – Simikot (2985 m). 8 h Lodge ou tente.
Day 61. (30-05). Simikot (2985 m) – Nepalgunj (150 m) – Kathmandu (1350 m) par avion (by plane). Hôtel. Day 62. (31-05). Kathmandu (1350 m). Jour de sécurité. Safety Day.
Day 63. (01-06). Kathmandu (1350 m). Departure to Paris or another city.
Mira’s work is done and Lloyd has nearly completed the editing, with the help of Shashank who’s been translating between English and Nepali and back again.
The film is set to be around 42 minutes and it tells the remarkable story of Mira Rai who found trail running by chance and almost within a year of racing internationally, placed second in the World Skyrunning Championships.
If you want to do some big training days, or be a tourist in a different way, ask Upendra to guide you on some runs around the Kathmandu Valley. Upendra is currently getting his official guide licence. It is a tedious process requiring six-weeks attendance to classroom-based classes on guiding. Of course he is learning new things which will help him be a better guide, but importantly the guide licence allows him to take clients all over Nepal.
Andrew Barrett from the USA came to Nepal hoping to cover some 160km in 4 days to give a boost to his coming running season. He had this to say about running with Upendra.
“I am at the Kathmandu airport, awaiting my flight out and want to thank you for connecting me with Upendra. As you told me, his English was a little difficult to understand. But he took me on fantastic runs, never repeating the same location. On successive days we climbed Jamacho, Shivapuri, Champa Devi and Bhasmeswor Danda (same day), and finally Phulchoki. Today, he took me for a running tour of the city itself finishing at Patan Durbar Square. He was just awesome throughout, this was some spectacular running. If there is a particular place I can post that will help him get more guide opportunities, please let me know.” – Andrew Barrett, USA
And just today, David Bennert reported a “Very exciting Trail run with Upendra” climbing Jamacho near to the city.
Yes, you can go out running on the trails, there’s a map of trails in Kathmandu Valley here, but you’ll be more efficient, not get lost, and enjoy the process more if you hire a guide. For individuals or running groups, for single days, or multiday fastpacking trips, get in touch with us to hire Upendra.
Congratulations Upendra – a long deserved win. This years MSIG course was longer then 2015’s Asia Skyrunning championships, with very different conditions: it rained and was slippery underfoot, and Upendra was running with an ankle sprain sustained a week earlier in Kathmandu.
“Sunuwar,” reports SCMP, “who lives 100 kilometres outside of Kathmandu, works as a trail running guide in Nepal and was rumoured to gain a greater lead over fellow contestants, but got lost on the course. He was happy to take home the silverware but claimed his performance was only ‘so so’.”
Upendra was interviewed by Action Asia Events:
“The race was nice. Up and down and up and down which is my style. The big climbs on the trails indeed were not too difficult for me as I live in Nepal and train in the mountains, but as it had rained and were slippery, it was a little difficult, enjoyed them as an extra challenge then the weather got better and trails started to dry. Despite taking the first place, I’m not so satisfied with my performance as thought I made a couple small errors so guess just so-so. But the others also had a tough race so think I’m quite happy as maybe should have drank more as weather changed quite fast from a very cool morning to quite warm” said overall champion Nepalese runner Upendra Sunuwar showing off a bruised ankle and some nasty bloody gashes all down his legs.
Would be great to have a library of trail running or hiking routes to follow on your smart phone (if you have one) or to print and take with you. Here’s a start, gathered from many GPS tracks recorded by many people. There are many more great running trails than this. If you know of more, please link your GPS track in the comments below with some idea of where it is.
If you have a phone with a browser, open this link on it. You may be lucky and be able to find your location. If you have Google Maps installed on your phone, then try to open “Kathmandu Trails” from the search box.
If you have any better suggestions, please add in the form below.
Download GPX / KML
The full trails are here GPX (9MB) and KML (2MB) but slowly we’ll add smaller, separate files for different areas.
Near the top of Shivapuri peak near Kathmandu
Please upload a GPX track you want to share with people.
If you are coming to Nepal to trek in the next few weeks, and you plan to, or have thought about taking diamox, please consider helping this study.
First, check the email to the right from the study team from Utah University (note that it says Everest Region only). Find out more about diamox here and here. Then read a little more from Dr Pranav Koirala who is a specialist in High Altitude Medicine who’s part of the study team:
Diamox is being used as prophylactic in this study. We are trying to find out which dose is better [the current 125mg or an even smaller dose]. This study does not place participants at any increased risk.
People who are already planning on taking diamox or who just want to take the drugs to participate in this study both would be welcome. Since this is not drug vs placebo (this is a normal dose of the drug vs smaller dose of the drug) all the participants will be taking diamox but in different doses. Even we will not know which is which to prevent biases. The pills that we will give are identical but coded. Participants will have to keep track of their symptoms by filling out very small and simple form every evening and give it back to us at the end of their trip.
I am sure people have a lot of confusion regarding Diamox. Just a few years ago a 750 mg dose was the standard! Imagine the discomfort people had to go through until someone came along and did a research for 500mg and 250mg, and now 125mg is the standard prophylaxis. We are trying to look if an even smaller dose is as effective.
This study has been running for a year now. We need 25 more subjects this year to complete the study.
Please fill the form if you are interested in taking part.
Mira comes from a remote village, fairly typical of rural villages across Nepal. As night comes, there’s maybe a little bit of solar light, some candle or oil lamp light and light from the fire in the kitchen area. Dim and limited would describe it. Mira took one of these solar lights home with her for her mother last April, and her mother was very happy with it. It’s bright, and useful where you need it. “She can take it where she needs it. She can even put it on her front,” says Mira, “Very comfortable!”
Mira with the light she gave to her mother.
It’s a simple thing that can make a big difference. Even in Kathmandu, the capital city, the power can be off from 4 to 18 hours in the day. These lights are assembled in Bouddha, Kathmandu. The parts are imported from China (of course) but great attention is paid to the LED light and the battery. A charity called LED initially started distributing the lights in the Manaslu Region and the organisers of the Manaslu Trail Race asked if they could help on an annual basis. Of course, said Val Pitkethly, veteran climbing guide from the UK.
Over the past few years, Val and LED had made great progress delivering lights systematically household by household with PHASE Nepal. The earthquake set that back. A falling stone will smash one of these lights in a second. So start again. So this is why we’re making a campaign now. We can easily see the utility of these lights. They make life easier, and evenings safer and more productive.
Distribution is not easy though. In a village setting, it is impossible to give to some people and not others. It creates discord.
We decided to ask PHASE Nepal to advise us how we could help. They said we could, and suggested using lights as an incentive, and in this case, and incentive for pregnant women to attend an ante-natal programme. Complete the programme, learn through the process, and receive a light as a reward.
So this is what is happening. We’re trying to get 200 lights to cover that programme for a year. It’s started and doing well already.
Climbing (or trail running) mountainous ranges can be exhilarating as well as a dangerous experience for those who dare. Depending on individual capacity, altitude sickness can appear in mountain climbers any time between 8000 to over 12000 feet above ground level. Often at times, altitude sickness is dependent on the climbing speed of the individual rather than the height itself.
[This post is provided by Dr Felix in UK. It relates to climbing, but it applies too for running. This information should help runners preparing for Nepal’s Mustang and Manaslu Trail Races. Enjoy, and please ask any further questions at the bottom.
And before reading, athletes, please note this from high altitude doctor, Suvash Dawadi.
I write this email to suggest some additions to FAQs and information regarding use of acetazolamide (Diamox) use in races in Nepal. I think we should point out on the website itself that Acetazolamide is on the list of banned substances both in and out of competition by World anti-doping Agency. While this might be OK for an amateur racer, I know we have a few competitions who are involved in races elsewhere including road races and marathons. So it might be a good idea to just put something about the possible doping issue. Also if anyone who does participate in WADA governed sport decides to take diamox as prophylaxis, he/she should fill a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) form with their respective doping agencies. If you have an athlete should require treatment with Diamox, again they have to notify the authorities back home and file for a retroactive TUE. Dr Suvash Dawadi
Cause of Altitude Sickness
People have a hard time climbing up heights because of the environmental change they have to face at elevated levels. Normal quantity of oxygen is 21% in air on ground, with air pressure around 760mmHg. At elevated levels, air pressure starts decreasing, so the number of oxygen particles in the air reduce in correlation. For example, air pressure at 12,000 feet high altitude is only 480mmHg approximately, so the body has to adjust the 40% less amount of oxygen in air at that specific height (Swenson & Bärtsch, 2014).
Moreover, lower air pressure and higher altitude also produces fluid build-up as it disturbs internal blood pressure, while forcing red blood cells to work more in order to cope with lost oxygen levels.
Advantage of Diamox
Diamox tablets for altitude acclimatisation
Diamox is a prescription medicine also sold under its generic name acetazolamide which can reduce and prevent altitude sickness (West, et al., 2007). It helps in reducing the shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and headaches, which commonly occur at high altitude. Moreover, it reduces the bodily fluid build-up that occurs with low air pressure.
Avoid Cheyne Stokes Respiration
Cheyne Stokes respiration is a condition that many people experience at high altitudes. This occurs normally during the sleeping period at higher altitudes. Your body breathes periodically, alternating between no breathing, and heavy breathing (Netzer, et al., 2013). Not only does this condition cause trouble for the climbers, but it can also scare them. By taking Diamox at night, Cheyne Stokes can be reduced and climbers can sleep better.
Usage Instructions for Climbers
Altitude sickness is best prevented by planning ahead. Start taking Diamox at least 24 hours before you start your climbing adventure and continue throughout your climb. Stop your Diamox at least 48 hours after you have finished climbing. At times, you may need to continue for the entire duration of your stay at high altitude. If altitude sickness gets severe, stop relying on Diamox and descend as soon as possible. Doctors normally recommend a dosage of 125mg or a 250mg tablet, to be administered twice a day.
Care during Diamox Intake
Diamox is a diuretic and reduces potassium levels in the body. Therefore, it is recommended that while you are taking Diamox, you should drink as much water as possible. Moreover, you should stick to a high-potassium diet such as bananas, green vegetables and oranges while you’re on Diamox. Diamox which contains the active ingredient acetazolamide should be avoided if in case the patient has low blood levels of potassium or sodium, adrenal gland problem, kidney or liver disease.
Acclimatisation is the process of ascending elevated heights at a slow pace. For example, if you climb up a steep mountainous range such as Kilimanjaro, you will be at a greater disadvantage as compared to trekking over low peaks and ridges. Once you have covered 10,000 feet above ground, make an aim of climbing only 300-500m height in 24 hours. Climbing at this pace can help prevent mountain sickness altogether (DrFelix, 2014).
Consult a Doctor Immediately
There are two dangerous conditions associated with altitude sickness that require immediate medical attention, and cannot be treated with Diamox. First condition is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, termed as High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) (Bock & Hultgren, 1986). If you feel extremely short of breath while everyone else is back to normal, you need to seek help immediately.
Second condition is the accumulation of fluid in the brain, termed as High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE). Symptoms of HACE include loss of coordination, lethargy and general change in behaviour. Moreover, HACE can also cause cognitive impairment (Zafren, 2000).
In case of either HACE or HAPE, it is urgent that the patient should descend at least 500 to 1000 meters below the current altitude, and should not be delayed. Moreover, the patient should be administered hyperbaric oxygen and oxygen steroids.
High altitudes require great respect. If you consider yourself to be a muscular and strong person, do not assume that you can battle your way through to high places. Often, people who are overconfident about their strengths are the ones who struggle the most at high places. Take your medicine as prescribed, follow best practice for climbing and all the safety rules for successful climb and a good experience. You can order altitude sickness tablets from UK registered online doctor & pharmacy services like DrFelix.co.uk at a reasonable cost and have it delivered to your home before you set off for your climb.
Bock, J. & Hultgren, H. N., 1986. Emergency Maneuver in High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema. JAMA, 255(23), pp. 3245-3246.
Netzer, N. et al., 2013. Hypoxia‐Related Altitude Illnesses. Journal of Travel Medicine, 20(4), pp. 247-255.
Swenson, E. R. & Bärtsch, P., 2014. High Altitude: Human Adaptation to Hypoxia. New York, NY: Springer New York.
West, J. B., Schoene, R. B., Milledge, J. S. & Ward, M. P., 2007. High altitude medicine and physiology. 4th ed. London, UK: Hodder Arnold.
Congratulations to Bed and Bishnu Maya for great performances in Hong Kong this weekend.
Bishnu Maya Budha finishing in 4th place
It’s Bishnu Maya‘s fourth and fifth trail races and her second 50km event. She looked pretty beaten up at the end, but that can be expected from Michael Maddess’s hilly Lantau course with the awesome-crazy 900m Dog’s Teeth climb. And she tooth a nasty fall between CP2 and CP3 which shook her up. All in all a baptism of fire.
Bishnu has been training for a bit more than a year in her local running club – a rare thing in Nepal. In the past year that she has been racing, she’s improved a lot. This experience in Hong Kong will be valuable, giving her an idea of what it is all about, and giving some focus for future. She’s just 19, or 18, and certainly has potential, and certainly at the longer events.
Today’s 5th placed runner, John Ellis of Gone Running said, “Both Bede and Bishnu had great races, though Bede lost a bit of time with a couple wrong turns. Amazed at Bishnu – a real talent there and such a lovely person too,” and he went on, “… so much potential. She is still learning about nutrition and hydration, and pacing was a little off, but that’s a good thing – easy wins.How else can we help her?”
Bed lost time before CP1 and approaching Cp4 loosing 1st place twice. A little more time to inspect the course would help, but so would a little more attention to the course markers. This course is well marked and it should be difficult to go off route – put it down to hard effort running in the zone.
Bed works at Nepal Army and Bishnu is not looking at too many great opportunities back in Nepal so we’ve set up a small fund to help her train for a year and see how far she can go in 2016: Contribute Bishnu’s athlete fund here!
Bishnu Maya Budha reviewing bloody knee from fall between CP2 and CP3
Double Prize 50k Top 5 Men Name – Nationality – Team/Sponsor – Time 1. Eirik Haugsnes – Norway – Inov8 – 06:35:20 2. Bed Bahadur Sunuwar – Nepal – Nepal – 06:39:48 3. Vlad Ixel – Australia – The North Face – 07:13:02 4. Orlando Edwards – United Kingdom – 07:24:22 5. Haron Kiprugut Bor – Kenya – 07:46:04
Double Prize 50k Top 3 Women Name – Nationality – Team/Sponsor – Time 1. Maud Gobert – France – Adidas – 08:01:12 2. Bishnu Maya Budha – Nepal – Nepal – 08:36:29 3. Rebecca Nakuwa – Kenya – 08:41:14
MSIG Lantau 50- HK50 Series 50K Top 5 Men Name – Nationality – Team/Sponsor – Time 1. François D’Haene – France – Salomon – 5:42:40 2. Eirik Haugsnes – Norway – Inov8 – 5:56:33 3. Bed Bahadur Sunuwar – Nepal – 05:59:12 4. Vlad Ixel – Australia – The North Face – 06:27:27 5. John Ellis – Australia – 06:27:30
Top 5 Women Name – Nationality – Team/Sponsor – Time 1. Maud Gobert – France – Adidas – 7:08:42 2. Marie McNaughton – New Zealand – Gone Running/Joint Dynamics – 7:29:47 3. Rebecca Nakuwa – Kenya – 7:42:56 4. Bishnu Maya Budha – Nepal – 7:44:39 5. Sally Chelagat Kipyego – Kenya – 8:23:13