A 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.
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.
You may also want to check out:
- Photos from Anuj Adhikary on the home stretch
- The race Facebook page
- The race routes on the race website
- Full results
|43||Humee Budha Magar||11km||1:50:38||4||F|
|45||Babu Kagi Shrestha||11km||1:38:06||1||M|
|75||Maude Joli Coeur||27km||4:35:58||19||F|
|23||Bishnu Maya Budha||50km||6:41:07||8||F|
|110||Khagmantra B Bhat||50km||5:15:34||1||M|
|68||Mangal Singh Tamang||50km||5:56:48||5||M|
|39||Sher Bahadur Tharu||50km||6:28:34||6||M|
|17||Bhim Bahadur Gurung||80km||9:05:00||2||M|
Thanks to http://www.anujadhikary.com/