It was an emotional moment. Tears of joy, relief and excitement erupted amongst participants, their companions and organisers alike. As each runner passed under the finishing line banner, they marked the end of six gruelling days conquering a distance of about 160 km across 29,000 m in altitude.
Spaced out in six daily stages across the Solokhumbu region of Nepal, the Everest Trail Race is a demanding, free-style race. Considered by many as one of the world’s toughest high-altitude, multi-day ultras, only elite athletes and mountain walkers in good physical and mental condition are recommended to attempt this challenge.
The sixth stage was a feat in itself, pushing athletes on their final 29.5 km stretch which dropped immediately to 3,300 m before an arduous climb back up to Khumjung at 3,800 m. This is followed by a long descent to Namche Bazaar – or the “metropolis” of the region – and a 3.5 km uphill to the finishing line in Lukla.
Not only was the race challenging for runners, but for organisers too. The race route areas are only accessible by walking, just as the Sherpa, Rais, Tamang and other native inhabitants traditionally do.
Terrain changes made for very technical trails. Besides withstanding low temperatures, participants also had to carry their personal technical equipment in a partially self-sufficient race. But the breath-taking panoramic views of the Himalayan giants – Everest, Lhotse, AmaDablam, Tamserku, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and so on – made every step worthwhile.
Just ask the 30 runners/ adventurers from Spain, Germany, France, Argentina and United Kingdom who registered for this year’s 5th edition.
Nepali Gurung Bhim B who won the men race’s in an impressive 20 h 24 min. Second place in the men’s category was Roger Viñes, coming in at 22 h 54 minutes, followed by Joan Soler at 24 h 31 min.
Catalan Anna Cornet took home the overall women’s winning place with a time of 25h and 44 min. British Joanna Rhoda Meek came in next at 27 h 20 min while third place went to Germany’s Julia Böttger who finished in 28 h 42 min.
The entire event held from 8 to 20 November 2015, rounded off with an official awards dinner in Kathmandu.
Look forward to 2016’s edition!
Race organisers are already working on the 6th edition that will be held from 6 to 18 November 2016. Registration is now open and the number of places for national and international participants are expected to increase.
For more information, visit the Everest Trail Race official website.
What mountains are you intending to climb and see with your very eyes? Surely, the Himalayan mountains top the charts! What do you think?