Ex­otic Des­ti­na­tion

Ever­est Trail Race, Nepal

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Ian Cor­less Ian Cor­less has trav­elled the world doc­u­ment­ing trail events. He is the host of the Talk Ul­tra pod­cast and au­thor of Run­ning Be­yond (Au­rum Press, 2016).

The amaz­ing trails that lead to the stun­ning vis­tas of Ever­est from the Teng­boche Monastery are some of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments any trail run­ner can en­counter. Or­ga­niz­ers of the Ever­est Trail Race ( etr) tell all par­tic­i­pants be­fore the race that Nepal will change you, and not just be­cause of the ex­tra­or­di­nary ter­rain, but be­cause of the kind­ness of the Nepalese peo­ple. From the fre­netic streets of Kath­mandu to the iso­la­tion of camp­ing un­der the stars at the monastery at Kharikhola, Nepal and its peo­ple ce­mented them­selves within the heart of etr par­tic­i­pants.

Wind­ing through the re­mote Solukhumbu re­gion of the Hi­malayas in Nepal, the etr takes place over six pun­ish­ing days and cov­ers 160 kilo­me­tres, with over 25,000 m of ver­ti­cal gain. That’s like climb­ing the name­sake of this event nearly three times.

Ter­rain is mixed and the daily dis­tances are, on pa­per, rel­a­tively short. Don’t be fooled, though. Alti­tude and tech­ni­cal trails make the etr a very spe­cific chal­lenge. Daily alti­tude gain starts at 3,000 m and goes up to 5,950 m. It’s a breath­tak­ing route that starts in Jiri and fol­lows an in­cred­i­ble route to Teng­boche – the gate­way to Ever­est Base Camp.

Run­ners will trace the foot­steps of Ed­mund Hil­lary and Ten­z­ing Nor­gay, the first men to reach the sum­mit of Ever­est. En route, par­tic­i­pants will ex­pe­ri­ence breath­tak­ing views of sev­eral of the world’s tallest moun­tains: Ever­est, Lothse, Ama Dablam, Tam­seku, Kangtega, Makalu and Kanchen­junga. On the fifth day, ar­riv­ing at Teng­boche the Hi­malayan back­drop is mag­nif­i­cent and pro­vides a won­der­ful boost be­fore re­turn­ing to Lukla via Nam­che Bazaar.

When reach­ing the high­est point of the day, your breath­ing is hard, with short shal­low breaths. You think you must stop, that you can’t go on, but then you set­tle into a sus­tain­able rhythm. Your body is adapt­ing to the work­load, and the alti­tude and with that re­al­iza­tion you feel a rush of em­pow­er­ment that mo­ti­vates you to con­tinue to run with the stun­ning

Ever­est as a back­drop.

etr is a self-suf­fi­cient race, mean­ing that par­tic­i­pants must carry all they need ex­cept for food for meals and a tent. Break­fast and din­ner is pro­vided and all the run­ners sleep in two-per­son tents. Tem­per­a­tures vary greatly from warm sunny days to icy cold nights. Re­mem­ber, the run­ners carry ev­ery­thing they need, in­clud­ing shorts and T-shirts for the day and a down jacket, mul­ti­ple lay­ers and a very warm sleep­ing bag for the night. As with most multi-day races, a change of clothes is a luxury and a shower prob­a­bly not an op­tion. The route is only ac­ces­si­ble by foot or he­li­copter, so the chal­lenge is equally tough for the race team.

The Ever­est Trail Race is with­out doubt the jour­ney and ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time.

Get­ting There

The race of­fers an en­try fee with or with­out f light ar­range­ments from Lon­don to Kath­mandu, then on to Lukla, the launch­ing off point for the event. If you choose to get there your­self, a few ma­jor air­lines, in­clud­ing Air Canada (in con­junc­tion with its Star Al­liance part­ner air­lines), Cathay, Air In­dia and Qatar Air­ways f ly to Kath­mandu. Most f lights in­clude at least one lay­over.

Where to Stay

The race of­fers four nights’ ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion in Kath­mandu, with break­fast in­cluded as a part of the en­try. Most meals are also cov­ered through­out the trip, in­clud­ing wel­come and farewell din­ners. The bus and en­try fee into Sarga­matha Na­tional Park is also cov­ered.

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