Faces of Nepal

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“Travel is the discovery of truth; an affirmation of the promise that human kind is far more beautiful than it is flawed. With each trip comes a new optimism that where there is despair and hardship, there are ideas and people just waiting to be energized, to be empowered, to make a difference for good.” 
― Dan Thompson, Following Whispers: Walking on the Rooftop of the World in Nepal’s Himalayas

 

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Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 6 Image Gallery

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Race Summary for Stage 6 HERE

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 6

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Day 6 #ETR2014

On paper, today’s stage of the Everest Trail Race was mostly downhill with 3183m of descent in comparison to 2105m of ascent over the 29.5km course. Don’t be fooled though, it was a tough day. The terrain is relentlessly tough and technical and the altitude burns the lungs.

Leaving Tengboche the race retraces stage-5 to Phakding and then branches left up to the race finish in Lukla. It’s a course with stunning views and vistas and Namche Bazar is impressive when looked upon with a bird’s eye view. Surrounded by beautiful white peaks it would be easy to be tempted to stop and just look in wonder at the awesome arena the Himalayas create. Behind the runners, Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam slowly but surely disappear from view with every step to Lukla, a sure sign that the 2014 ETR is drawing to a conclusion.

Samir Temang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa really put the pressure on early in the stage reaching Khumjung in just 45-mins. From here they pushed on together through Namche Bazar, Monjo, Phakding, Cheplung and they crossed the line together in just 3-hours 20-minutes. A crazy time for the course and one that confirmed Samir as the 2014 Everest Trail Race champion. Zigor Iturrieta found his legs again today and finished 3rd on the stage and 3rd overall.

Anna Comet looked to take things a little more relaxed today secure in the knowledge that barring some disaster the ladies overall title was secure. Equally, Kerry Sutton decided to enjoy the final day and ran with 3rd place lady, Yangdi Lama Sherpa. Post race Kerry said, ‘I really enjoyed today and it was nice to look around and enjoy the surroundings.’

James Eacott placed 4th overall in the men’s race and he said that the ETR was one race that he would definitely come back to do again.

Samir Temsang and Anna Comet are crowned the 2014 ETR champions but all credit goes to each and every finisher. At 100-miles, this race may not be the longest but it is surely one of the toughest! The combination of tough technical terrain, relentless climbing and descending and of course altitude, all combine to make the ETR a race to do!

 

Results top-3 *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

OVERALL RESULTS *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 5 Image Gallery

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Day 5 Race Summary HERE

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 5

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Day 5 #ETR2014

Many say that the 16km route from Phakding to Tengboche is one of the most beautiful trails in the world. The view of the Himalayan peaks is beyond mind blowing. Especially when you arrive at the summit an Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam await. It’s quite the picture postcard.

However, to take in this spectacle a journey of 16km and 2124m of positive incline waits. It doesn’t sound too much does it? However, many runners crossed the line saying, ‘that was a seriously tough day!’

Departing Phakding (2700m), Namche Bazar (3600m) is the first port of call then Kumjung and Cp2 and Phungi Tenga (3300m) before the tough and steep ascent to Tengboche at 3900m.

Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa once again ran like demons and ran the course in a super impressive 2:51. Samir once again pipped Phudorje for the tape and a couple of seconds. James Eacott from the UK ran a great race and looked really strong to place 3rd on the stage from Zigor Iturrieta who struggled in the closing kilometres.

Anna Comet made a clean sweep of 5-stages and 5-wins and Kerry Sutton despite a sprained ankle once again placed 2nd to secure her overall 2nd lady ranking. Yangdi Lama Sherpa repeated her consistent 3rd-place for every stage.

The finish line at Tengboche is arguably one of THE most amazing finishing lines of any race and this was reflected in some of the emotions shown as runners crossed the line today. However, a tough 30km from Tengboche back to Lukla awaits each and every runner on day-6 of the Everest Trail Race.

I’m pretty sure a few cold beers may well be enjoyed in Lukla tomorrow evening… believe me; they have been earned! The ETR may well ‘only’ be 100-miles but they are some of the toughest and most challenging miles available. The ETR is without doubt a bucket list race.

 

Results top-3 times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. James Eacott

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 4

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Day 4 #ETR2014

Kharikola to Phakding is one of my favourite days on the ETR trails. It’s very much a transition stage. The first 3-days have been quiet with the occasional glimpse of life but now we are on the M6 motorway of Nepal. Porters are the HGV’s transporting all manner of goods from food and drink to 8’x4’ sheets of wood… yes, 8’x4’ sheets of wood. In and amongst this frenetic relay of goods the mule and yak trains add to the confusion and like all motorways there is a plethora of tourists moving up and down the trails.

It’s a magic section of trail and one that I love. The diversity is incredible. Children at play, parents at work and the faces… don’t get me started on the faces! Life is people.

The 2013 edition of the ETR presented wonderful vistas and blue skies, however, the Himalayas decided to hide behind low cloud today. An occasional glimpse of a peak way off into the distance offered a glimpse of what might. But the clouds were selfish.

Leaving the sleepy monastery of Kharikola, 31km’s awaited the runners and after a short and twisting technical descent, a vertical kilometre of elevation to CP1 (Kari La) provided a great way to start the day and brush off the cobwebs.

The descent to Surke (Cp2) is a 17km ankle twisting and knee swelling series of switchbacks of technical trail. But there is no rest, more climbing, more technical trails and finally the wire bridge at Monjo offers the ETR finish line. In total, 2996m of positive gain are balanced by 2335m of vertical descent.

It may come as no surprise that Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa dictated the pace from the start and arrived at Cp1 in 1-hour. It was a ridiculous time considering the technicality and elevation of the course. Zigor Iturrieta was holding his ground but the writing was already on the wall. The Nepalese runners really do make running look easy here… arguably Zigor is the first human in the race! After Phudorje’s fall yesterday, Samir consolidated his overall lead and the two ran together to the line finishing just 3-seconds apart.

Anna Comet is one seriously impressive lady! She has a look of focus and determination that is softened by a smile whenever she sees you. But don’t be fooled, it’s not weakness… it’s actually a smile of confidence. Hands-on-knees Anna powers the climbs and foot hops the descents. Today she once again excelled and took her 4th consecutive stage win and extended her lead beyond all reach. Kerry Sutton and Yangdi Lama Sherpa repeated the 2nd and 3rd places from the previous 3-stages; however, Kerry today twisted her ankle badly. Fingers crossed it will not impact on her performance over the coming two final days.

Tomorrow, stage-5 is a short day of just 16km’s and 2124m of vertical gain. It culminates at the monastery at Tyangboche with Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam providing arguably the most impressive finish line of any race!

 

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 3:53:35
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:53:38
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:09:41

 

  1. Anna Comet 4:28:18
  2. Kerry Sutton 5:06:09
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 5:35:47

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 4 Image Gallery

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Results top-3 stage 4

  1. Samir Temsang 3:53:35
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:53:38
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:09:41
  1. Anna Comet 4:28:18
  2. Kerry Sutton 5:06:09
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 5:35:47

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 3 Image Gallery

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Results top-3 stage 3

  1. Samir Temsang 3:48:02
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:07:47
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:50:57
  1. Anna Comet 5:35:35
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:09:55
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 6:27:43

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 3

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Day 3 #ETR2014

After yesterday relentless uphill struggle today, day-3 of the Everest Trail Race was all downhill, well, sort of. Starting in Jase Bhanjyang runners passed through Jumbesi, Phurteng, Salung, Taksindu and then from Jubhing the race finishes with a tough climb to the stunning monastery at Kharikola. At 37.4km in length the total descent is a quad busting 4110m in contrast to 2512m of ascent.

Many thought today would be an easier day, however, for those in the know… although descending may be a little kinder on the lungs, descending 4000m+ on tired legs is no easy task. Especially when the terrain has added technicality and steepness.

Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa led from the front once again and the stage looked all set for a replay of the previous 2-days. However, Phudorje took a tumble descending hurting his shoulder and knee. This allowed Samir to open up a gap and looking strong throughout finished the stage in an impressive sub 4-hours. Phudorje obviously shaken from the tumble arrived over 15-minutes later and this now places Samir in first place overall with a convincing lead. Zigor Iturrieta ran a solid 3rd-place once again but today gave away more time.

Last nights fears over Anna Comet’s sickness subsided as the stage-3 unfolded and she once again grabbed the race by the horns and lead from the front. Kerry Sutton did say that she felt strong today and may well have contested the first place with Anna, however, caution prevailed and she decided to leave a little in reserve for the coming 3-days that lies ahead. Yangdi Lama Sherpa one again placed 3rd on the stage looking tired. Yangdi is definitely not in the shape of 2013 but despite this continues to fight hard.

The trails and route for the ETR from Kharikola to Tyangboche and back to Lukla are now on the main trekking routes and in addition to this it is the main transport route for all supplies. Porters, mules and yaks are like cars on a motorway as they move up and down the trail carrying loads that are often beyond comprehension. It’s amazing to see life unfold and I for one feel very privileged for the opportunity to see it and record it in images and memories.

 

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 3:48:02
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:07:47
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:50:57

 

  1. Anna Comet 5:35:35
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:09:55
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 6:27:43

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2012 Day 2 Image Gallery

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RACE SUMMARY HERE

Results top-3 stage 2

  1. Samir Temsang 4:14:06
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:14:12
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:31:05
  1. Anna Comet 5:01:46
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:10:00
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa tbc