Day 2 #ETR2017
Starting in Bhandar runners have the pleasure of running downhill along some twisting and technical trail before crossing a suspension bridge that stretches over Kinja Khola River. What follows is a lung busting and leg-sapping climb to Golla at just over 3000m. A little respite and then climbing starts again firstly to Ngaur and then onward to the highest point of the ETR; Pikey Peak at 4063m. From the summit at Pikey Peak an amazing Himalayan vista awaited but the runners had to work for it… really work for it! Dropping down a tough technical descent for several kilometres, a tough short climb is the sting in the tail to the arrival at Jase Bhanjyang at 3600m.
Day 2 of the Everest Trail Race is the toughest of the race: fact! It’s a brutal exercise in climbing and one that takes place at attitude stretching each and every participant to the limit. However, despite its severity, today, Luis Alberto Hernando dare I say, made it look it easy! He smashed the old course record and in the process set a new time of 3:35.
It’s difficult to comprehend how the Spaniard climbed to Pikey Peak and climbed 2700m in the time that he did. He arrived at the summit in 3:10 and then flew down the final technical descent and climbed to the finish line in 25-minutes – incredible!
It wasn’t all Luis’s day though, in the early stages he was pushed by Sondre Amdahl. The duo traded the lead over the early climbing and Nepali Suman Kulung tried to hold the pace but the other two were too strong.
Eventually Luis made his move and Sondre new that he could not match the pace, but he arrived 2nd at the summit less than 10-minutes behind. Suman arrived 3rd and then used his incredible downhill ability to not only catch Sondre but pass him, finished 2nd and Sondre was 3rd. Jordi Gamito once again placed 4th, he is running a strong race but just doesn’t have the pace or the form of the top-3.
In the ladies’ race. Ester Alves used her mountain experience and climbing to forge ahead but the Portuguese lady didn’t open up the possible huge gap many had expected. At the Pikey Peak summit, she had only a handful of minutes over Elisabet Barnes. Elisabet the two time MDS champ is not known for her mountain ability but in 2017 she has honed her skills and in particular, she has trained a great deal at altitude.
On the technical descent, Ester extended her lead, her technical running ability is still better than Elisabet’s but the gap is closing. Post-race, Elisabet said, ‘I am really happy with my race, I climbed really well, handled the altitude and after 3400m I was really strong, the training paid off!’
Chhechhee Sherpa was the 3rd lady and I guess somewhat surprisingly couldn’t match Ester and Elisabet on the climb – unusual for a Nepal native. However, she ran a strong race for 3rd with the UK’s Becks Ferry placing 4th.
It was a tough day with many runners coming close to the cut-off time. Eight runners were forced to take the short cut route and avoid Pikey Peak and as the day comes to a close, it looks like we may have one runner who will not make the cut-off.
- Luis Alberto Hernando 3:35:14
- Suman Kulung 3:49:25
- Sondre Amdahl 3:53:04
- Ester Alves 5:21:07
- Elisabet Barnes 5:33:57
- Chhechhee Sherpa 5:41:48
Day 3 Jase Bhanjyang – Karikola
A brutal day that is a stark opposite to day-2, at 37.4km it has more descending (4110m) than ascending (2512m).
Starting in Jase Bhanjyang runners will pass through Jumbesi, Phurteng, Salung, Taksindu and then from Jubhing the race finishes with a tough climb to the stunning monastery at Kharikola.