A damp and chilly night soon passed to greet the runners with spectacular views of the Himalayas – Everest and so many more completely visible from camp.
Day 1 of The Elements 2019 Everest Trail Race was a new route after eaving Patale, the journey would encompass Lakap, Kerung, Chyangsar, Meranding, Bhittakharaka, Khoriya, Kunikhop and conclude at Dimise. The distance of 24.9km starts at 2800m, drops to just above 2000m and then climbs again over 14km to 2906m.
For the runners it was a day of excitement and nervous anticipation. Kathmandu is located just over 1300m, so, to suddenly be at 2800 and have to run is a big ask. Gladly, the runners dropped down to 2000m after a slightly uphill start. However, the long final climb to the finish was a real test.
Sumun Kulung Rai, a previous participant of the Everest Trail Race set the early pace pulling away over the early km’s. However, Spain’s Miguel Heras was not allowing the Nepali to gain any advantage and the duo marked each other throughout the day. It was Sumun who took the tape with a late charge to beat Miguel with a handful of seconds.
Gerard ‘Blacky’ Morales placed third with a solid race and pacing.
Anna Comet, also a previous finisher of the Everest Trail Race ran a strong and solid race pulling away from Mauela Vilaseca who placed 2nd at the 2018 ETR. Anna was very strong, and even in the closing km’s looked well in control with plenty of energy left.
Manuela knows how challenging the ETR is and was no doubt respecting the race, the distance and the altitude on day 1 finishing a very strong second ahead of Nuria Dominguez.
Day 1 will no doubt be remembered for the new track, the isolation, the complete lack of any tourists and local life that seems unaffected by the crazy world around it. One got a feeling that for some, we were the first non Nepali people they had seen.
News in the local area had got out about the race and some had walked up to an hour to experience the start – the buzz of the helicopter not doubt adding to the fascination.
One cannot emphasise enough, that no matter how majestic the trails are, no matter how stunning the mountains are, that without the people, Nepal would miss a really integral element that makes this place so special. This new route once again introduced us to a raw people who were only too welcome to open their arms and welcome us in to their home – now that is special.
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Day 1 Results:
Suman Kulung Rai 3:03:40
Miguel Heras 3:03:56
Gerard (Blacky) Morales 4:15:04
Anna Comet 3:45:23
Manuela Vilaseca 4:10:22
Nuria Dominguez 4:24:18
Please check online via the Everest Trail Race Facebook page for full Results.
Day 2 Preview
At 26km with 1916m of vertical gain and 1819m of vertical loss, it will be a tough day, particularly in the first 7km the runners will pass over Pikey Peak at 4100m. Passing through Jase Bhanjyang, Lamjura La, Jumbesi, the route will conclude at Pungmucheat just over 3000m.
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