2019 race medics
We take two or three race medics to support the Manaslu Trail Race. Here’s a message from Ryan Himmelsbach from USA who will be joining us!
My name is Ryan Himmelsbach. I am originally from Pennsylvania, and am currently a third year emergency medicine resident physician from the Northshore/Long Island Jewish Emergency Medicine program at Zucker School of Medicine in New York. I graduated medical school from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2017. I have always loved the outdoors, and wilderness medicine is a particular interest of mine within the scope of emergency medicine. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I used to go hiking, fishing, and camping with my father whenever I had the chance. As I got older, I began to travel more, and planned hiking and camping trips near and far, including Central America, Patagonia, East Asia, Alaska, and Australia/New Zealand. I have always wanted to visit the Himalayas, and am very excited about this year’s Manaslu Mountain Trail Race.
I first heard about the race from Dr. Yogesh Subedi, who was the expedition doctor for a previous race. I attended a wilderness medicine lecture from Dr. Subedi regarding the details of the race and his involvement as the expedition doctor, and was fascinated by the stories he shared. The route sounded like a trekker’s dream, and Dr. Subedi provided many stunning photographs to support that notion. Given my interest in wilderness and expedition medicine, I immediately began researching the race and contacting the race organizers to find out how to be a part of the following year’s race. Given my love of hiking, and my interest in wilderness medicine, this race represented the perfect opportunity for me to gain more exposure to the growing field of expedition medicine.
I have always been interested in visiting Nepal. It is a trekker’s paradise with some of the most beautiful mountain views in the world. Many of the world’s most iconic hiking trails can be found here. It is also a country steeped with history, evident in beautiful cities, such as Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. Ancient monasteries and temples are also evidence of Nepal’s significant role in the history of Buddhism. I am very excited about the race, but am equally excited about experiencing Nepal’s culture, which is famous worldwide.
I am preparing for the race by climbing as many local peaks as possible, and running as if training for a marathon. Although Long Island is not exactly known for its altitude, I have been making trips to local mountain ranges, such as the Catskills and Adirondacks, as I prepare for the verticality of the Himalayas. I have a lot of experience running, and was an avid cross country and track and field athlete in high school. I have previously competed in marathons, and placed 2nd overall amongst all competitors in my first marathon. I am taking a similar training approach to this race as I did when I was preparing for long distance races in college and medical school.
I can’t wait to experience the beauty of Nepal, and the thrill of the Manaslu Mountain Trail Race. I am already counting down the days until race day. See you soon!
Manaslu base camp trail
Every year we take a kind of survivors photo but before the race has finished! The location is the reason. Here we are at Birendra lake, which is the pro-glacial lake collecting the meltwater below Manaslu.
The day before we take the Manaslu Base Camp trail to a height of about 4600m way above this lake, which you can see on the brown grassland above the lake to the right of the image.
This photo is taken after racing along most parts of the Manaslu Trek route climbing from 600m to about 3600m where this photo is taken.
Stage 6 of the race is a relatively easy race from this lake to Samdo at 3800m.
You can see a map of the Manaslu Trail Race route that we take here.
Handheld video 2018
Here’s a video shot from a handheld GoPro from a trail runner in the Manaslu Trail Race 2017, Max.
It shows all of the aspects of his experience that meant something to him, from the running, to the downtime, the traveling in Nepal, the altitude – the whole package summed up in 5 minutes! He writes:
“An insight into all the things that make Nepal so special – the people, the culture, the scenery, the humbleness and kindness I experienced everywhere I went. Incorporates the 9 stage Manaslu Mountain Trail Race covering over 170 km and reaching a 5100m pass.”
And to his fellow runners, which formed a tight group of friends by the end of the trip, his message:
“Wishing you all the best and lots of adventures in 2018!! Here is a longer video of our time together in Nepal Manaslu Mountain Trail Race.
There are more videos of running in Nepal here, this is particularly nice, a fastpacking trip around Annapurna, from Severin Wünsch.
Something beautiful to watch to inspire you for the coming weekend. Severin Wünsch aka The Walking Giant produced this video after a running trip to Annapurna last November (2016). Visually stunning – clearly they had an amazing time! I asked him a few questions about his trip, read them here: http://trailrunningnepal.org/stunning-annapurna-trail-running/
Posted by Trail Running Nepal on Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Photos of Manaslu Trail Race 2017
This year at the Manaslu Trail Race we were lucky to have a pro-photographer along with us, Anuj Adhikary. Click the image below to browse the photos on Flickr, stage by stage. Soon, when time permits, we’ll will make a selection of 30 images good for a slideshow… until then, enjoy the pictures!
The link is otherwise here:
FAQs – Answers from 2016 participants
We get a lot of questions from enquiring and aspiring Manaslu runners and the answers can vary greatly from person to person. So we asked our 2016 cohort of runners for their input. Their answers are slighted edited for clarity, but the sentiment is the same.
OVERALL: How was your experience – the highs and lows – with the Manaslu Trail Race?
“It was a tough and challenging race!”
“It’s a fantastic race, can’t wait to try something similar – maybe Mustang next year (although I haven’t broken the news of that plan to my boyfriend yet so don’t tell!). I can’t think of any real lows in terms of the race experience and organisation, only “lows” in terms of some parts of the race were really hard that you had to harness all your reserves of energy to get through, the type of lows that you would expect to experience in a long hard mountain race when you are struggling a bit and wondering if you are going to make it round. The group meals before and after the race in Kathmandu were a great idea. I loved the hotel Manaslu in Kathmandu. I will definitely be staying there again.”
“It unlike any other race I’ve done. In a way, it was a spiritual experience: the vastness of the landscape, time spent alone, the physical challenge, the Buddhist – Hindu culture combined in a way that was very special. The race embodied everything I love about mountain running. There was only really one low and it was my own fault: I didn’t wear warm enough clothes early on the Larkya La stage and suffered for a few hours. Luckily Richard had a spare down jacket so adding that (fifth) layer resolved my discomfort.”
“I loved every minute. It was the experience of a lifetime.”
“Amazing ! One of the best things I’ve ever done. Nepal is beautiful and so are the people we stayed with. I’m not going to lie, it’s not a walk in the park but worth every second. It’s highs – the mountain peaks, the sunrise, the group of amazing, supportive people, the experienced team organising it, the knowledgeable doctor and monk to be, and the feeling of achievement as each day you finish another stage. The organisation is professional enough to feel you are looked after but laid back enough to make you feel relaxed and not as though it’s all about the money but the experience. The lows: the never ending climbs (worth it when you reach the top), the cold…oh so cold as we got higher, and the sickness although luckily I personally did not suffer but had sympathy for those that did. If anyone is in any doubt or is in two minds about this event – do it !!! Just don’t think about it, you won’t regret it!”
“Just incredible. Highs were the cultural aspects and being immersed in the incredible mountain scenery. We met, interacted with and entertained the local people, with old ladies laughing as we ran by, people stopping work in their fields to shout encouragement and school kids running out of class to cheer us on. Visiting the monasteries was also a highlight. Running along the river, through forests, and across the plateau to Pung Gyen monastery. Lows were probably having to walk 20km over Larkya La having been puking all of the night before! But I was so well looked after, and it was still a day of the most beautiful, wild scenery.”
TRAINING : Please comment on your training regime for the race? How did you modify your training for a single vs. multi-stage race? Any tips for what worked, didn’t work, things you should have done in hindsight?
“My training wasn’t ideal as I got injured so I did a fair amount of training in the pool, on the bike, and in the gym. I kind of think that half the battle is just getting to the start line fit and healthy. I did long back to back runs on weekends earlier in the summer in preparation for Monte Rosa and in the lead up to the race when my injuries allowed it – 3 or 4 hours on Saturday, same again on Sunday with plenty of climbing. I also managed to put in at least one other hill run during the week after work.”
“I had intended to do more mountain running prior to the event but it didn’t work out. I DNFed both Lavaredo and the CCC. Technical descending is a particular weakness that needed more work. On the other hand I had a good endurance base, with four other ultras completed in the proceeding 9 months. I didn’t modify my training (for this stage race). In hindsight, I needed to improve my downhill technique for Manaslu. I’m a stomper, which means that my legs were fried on these long descents. I’m working on that now. For the race, I was very happy (running in my) New Balance Vazee’s.”
“I definitely did not do enough training, but I went into the race injured, which wasn’t necessarily a great idea. Training of distances and particularly on lots of hills would have been important. The altitude is hard to train for but an altitude training mask was very useful (e.g. https://altitude02trainingmask.com/) and I would highly recommend one of these. While it’s a little embarrassing being seen on the streets in them I used it on an exercise bike in the privacy of my own home. I didn’t modify my training for single stage race events for this multi-stage race.”
“I started with crashing and burning with UTMR training camp which taught me I needed to get really strong legs! So I worked on that through the summer and tried to do as much hilly hard runs as possible, which isn’t easy in London! I did back-to-back long runs at weekends (e.g. 15k, 20k, 20k). My mileage wasn’t mega high as I don’t have time and I get injured, but towards the end I did a couple of 56/63 m weeks within 4 runs. I’id highly recommend UTMR training camp. After that everything will be a walk in the park! Everyone is different and what I’ve mentioned above may not work for others but that’s what I could fit into my lifestyle and to avoid injury. The back-to-back training runs gave me confidence and so did doing some tough hilly runs. Also, working on my core also really helped. We can always do more training looking back but we also have to remember that this is our hobby and to be enjoyed and we have to work within remits.”
“Strength training was the most important thing, so that your body could keep going day after day without breaking down. In the two months prior to the race, we did lots of backpacking. Hiking up and down mountains with a twenty kilo pack was awesome strength training. Three to four months in advance we’d been doing more running, which was more about time on our feet than speed. We’d take a backpack with food and water, and head out for 20 odd kilometres, stopping for food and photos, and walking up the hills. Also getting to altitude beforehand helped, but that’s not possible for everyone. To train for a multi-stage race, we tried to do 2-3 days of running in a row to get used to recovering overnight.”
ALTITUDE: How was your experience with altitude during the Manaslu Race? Did you have prior experience with altitude? Did you take any medication for altitude sickness?
“I had prior experience with altitude. For the race, I suffered altitude sickness from 1st day onwards. It was challenging, but thanks to the doctor who made sure I was ok.”
“No problems out of the ordinary except very swollen hands after being at 5000m and one evening I was quite nauseous which admittedly could have been from any number of reasons and not just altitude. The cold was more of an issue for me than the altitude was. Prior to this race, up to 11,500ft (3500m) was the highest I’d been to run or walk. During the race, I only took a tablet one night to stop the nausea.”
“(The altitude was) no problem at all. Altitude played a part in my prior DNF at CCC so I was very worried about it. During the race, I took a prophylactic dose of Diamox after stage 3 in Samagaun and kept taking it until Bimtang. I had no issues at all with altitude and no side effects.”
“(My experience with altitude during the Manaslu Race was) hard, but the use of the mask in training helped a lot. I did the Mustang Trail Race in 2015 so I had prior experience with altitude. I did take medication for altitude sickness and it helped a lot.”
“(My experience with altitude during the Manaslu Race was) bizarre! It’s odd doing a flattish 5km run and struggling because you can’t get enough air in…the team dealt with it all in the right way though so I personally didn’t feel too bad with it. We acclimatised properly. If there was ever an inkling that altitude might be affecting us, we were given diamox (by the doctor) and on the day we went highest we did a slow trek. I think I took Diamox once and that was only for precautionary reasons. Prior to this race, I think the most I’ve been up to was about 3,800 m. Manaslu was certainly the highest I’ve been.”
“(I had) no problems at all. We headed to Nepal early and walked up to Annapurna Base Camp so were well acclimatised before the race started. That said, the race schedule allowed time to acclimatise too. I didn’t take any medication for altitude sickness during the race.”
FOOD & WATER: Do you have feedback on meals served during the race (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner, tea and snacks)? How much of your own did you consume?
“Food was awesome. I did not take any (of my own food).”
“All was good (apart from lukewarm soggy cabbage, I still have nightmares about lukewarm soggy cabbage). If I was to do the race again I might throw a couple pepperoni sausages or a bottle of Heinz ketchup into my packing (that goes with the mules) just to give dinner a bit of “oomph” as towards the end I found the carb options monotonous and felt I needed protein that wasn’t egg. I am not sure if that’s because I am used to the luxury of the variety of a western diet or if my appetite just decreased directly in proportion to the increase in fatigue and/or altitude. Overall the food was plentiful and adequate for the task so certainly no complaints there. The chocolate cereal with warm milk was awesome. The big fluffy pancake on the morning of the final stage was brilliant too and you can never go wrong with porridge. The tea houses all served coca cola which was a lifesaver. Some of the checkpoints had juice as well as water, which was a good idea. For food I brought: a couple of snack bars and snickers bars each day and one or two gels and some sweets. To be honest there was a decent amount in the packed lunch so I didn’t need that much of my own food. I did eat everything that I bought with me though over the course of the trip.”
“Under the circumstances in which (the food) was made, it was excellent. Very tasty and plenty of it.
For my own food: I might have had some stuff if I was waiting for the mules for a long time but this didn’t happen often. I thought (the food) was very well judged. Obviously hotter ethnic food might have been nicer, but maybe not compatible with racing in the mountains and sharing loos! As a suggestion, more protein in the form of dahl would have been good. I consumed very little of my own food: a few energy gels and some small salami sticks. The salami sticks were a huge treat.”
“There was plenty of food! It was yummy. My only comment is that I’d like have liked more local food in the evenings, but we were well looked after, fed very well for energy for the next days of running. There was often a chance to buy snacks (at the tea houses) to keep you going and to have something different. I loved the chapati and egg for breakfast. I was wondering before coming to the race, if coffee would be in short supply (I drink a lot!) because that was one of the questions when signing. There was more than enough! Afternoon tea (after the run and before dinner) was great too to keep us going till the evening. I didn’t consume as much of my own food as I expected. I took lots of gels but preferred to have the sweets and solid food we were given throughout the day. My general recommendations is to eat lots! You’ll need the energy.”
Do you have feedback on meals served during the race (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner, tea and snacks)? The food was good and varied, although the one thing I would say is that I would have preferred dhal baat for dinner on a few of the nights when the Nepali runners were served it, and we were served pasta or similar!
How much of your own did you consume? A Clif bar each day, because I love them.
Any general food recommendations? There’s plenty of food provided, both at the lodges and in the lunch/snack bags, but if you like a particular trail food (like Clif bars), then bring it from home. Your more “healthy, lower sugar trail/energy foods aren’t really available in Nepal.
RUNNING PACK: How much food and water did you carry during a stage race? What other items, e.g. clothing did you carry in your race pack?
“I packed 3 lbs water and packed lunch. I also carried a wind cheater.”
“I carried about a litre and a half (of liquid) and half of that was water and half electrolyte drink. I took some of the items in the packed lunch, especially the cheese, flapjack-type bars, and snickers bars. I took some sweeties too (jelly babies). For clothing in my race pack: it varied depending on the temperature and length of the stage. Usually a thermal top and leggings and a waterproof jacket. On the higher stages I took additional gloves and a down jacket. I used trekking poles for some of the stages. I carried my phone, a map, compass, whistle, torch, small first aid kit including foil blanket, water purification tablets, sunglasses, hat, food and drink. I also carried suncream, which I made sure to reapply when I got to checkpoints. Also, hand sanitiser and toilet roll. I also acquired a second down jacket courtesy of Richard, which was an absolute life saver.”
“I had two 750 ml bottles and iodine tablets. I brought too many gels with me and wound up giving a lot of them to other people. The first two days were hot. Then it got progressively cooler. I found that I got the hang of (packing appropriate clothing in my race pack) as the race went on – no point carrying more than is necessary.”
“I carried 2 litres (of water) every day and for me that was always enough when supplemented with drinks at the checkpoint. I also carried a light down jacket on the high altitude days.”
“I carried 2-3 litres of water, sweets, and a couple of bars. I seemed to accumulate some things I had there just in case but didn’t use such as a couple of flapjacks. Breakfast keeps you going a long time so I think I only really needed to have a gel or some sweets after an hour or so, maybe something more substantial like a bar for lunch and then another snack around another hour or so and before you know it you’ve finished the run for the day! For clothes that I carried: a fresh layer of clothes, when it was colder a hat, gloves, long sleeves, a light down jacket…you’ll need when you finish the day’s race and you’re waiting around for tea (and the mules to arrive with your other bag). I used the Ultimate Direction Anton Krupicka pack. I think it’s 4 litre capacity and it was perfect, I think that’s generally the size most people used. Then other little bits like phone for camera, some wipes and loo roll just in case!”
“For food and water: a clif bar, the lunch/snack bag provided, and a 2 litre water bladder. I used a 15L pack and carried enough warm clothes that I could take off my damp sweaty stuff and not freeze while waiting for the mules at the end of each stage. A merino t-shirt and long sleeved top, my thin waterproof/windproof running jacket, merino long johns, woolly hat and gloves. As we climbed in altitude, I managed to squeeze my down jacket and waterproof/windproof over-trousers in there too. I carried more than a lot of people but was pleased to have it when we ran a long stage and had a long wait for the mules. I’d practiced running with the pack and was used to the weight.”
OTHER GEAR: Any comments on the gear you used or brought but didn’t use? Wished you had brought?
I brought walking sticks but didn’t use very much.
“I would have brought a second down jacket. I got really quite cold during the higher stages of the race.
A thermo flask or Nalgene bottle is essential. The new sleeping bag which goes to -20 that I bought for the race was my best buy ever! I should have packed more eye drops. I wear contacts and my eyes suffered a bit in the cold of the mountains and in the dust of Kathmandu. An extra battery for my camera would have been a good idea – I was terrified I wouldn’t have enough battery to last. Ear plugs were good too for getting a decent night’s sleep. Maybe some Vics vapour rub or similar would have been a good idea. I got a bit of a cold during the race and I’m sure it caused me to snore – apologies to my roommate!”
“I wish I had practiced using my GoPro prior to the race and had brought an image stabilizer. That said, everyone shared their photos.”
“I wore wool running shirts both short and long sleeves and these were great. They kept me warm when it was cool and were breathable when it was hot. Plus they didn’t stink so I could wear them day after day.”
“I bought poles in Kathmandu and didn’t use them. Some people did though. It’s totally personal. If you want to use them I’d suggest getting the lightest pair that you can fold up and I know a lot of really fast people were using them for the climbs up and then when you get running again you can just fold away. I also wish I’d invested in a thick down jacket. It gets super cold the higher up you go and I had three lighter down jackets but it wasn’t enough…one thick one would have been better.”
“My set of Black Diamond collapsable carbon walking poles were crucial! They made the climbs so much easier. You definitely need to practice with them so you can get into a good rhythm.”
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD
“Striking a balance between “travelling light” [while running] and being warm enough at the end while you waited for your bag to arrive was a bit tricky and as I really suffer from the cold my bag was a bit on the heavy side. It’s definitely worth practicing running with a heavier bag just in case bad weather is in the forecast. Some people ran carrying very little, which is no doubt advantageous if you are trying to move at speed but at the same time it is easy to turn an ankle or similar during the race and get very cold while waiting on medical assistance.”
Discount on Salomon Equipment List for Manaslu
Our equipment for the Manaslu Trail Race we recommend to other participants. We offer a discount of 20 % for all participants of the Manaslu Trail Race 2016! Plus the costs for postage and possible duty!
- Salomon S-LAB Wings Trail running shoes (179,95 €)
- Salomon S-LAB Exo-Twinskin Short (159,95 €)
- Salomon S-LAB Exo Zip-Tee (99,95 €)
- Salomon Exo Calfs (54,95 €)
- Salomon Fast Wing Hoody (99,95 €)
- Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Pant (199,95 €)
- Salomon Running Gloves (24,95 €)
- Salomon Running Hat Active Beanie (19,95 €)
- Salomon S-LAB XAlp Down Hoodie (349,95 €)
- Salomon S-LAB Advanced Skin 12Set Trailrunning Backpack (174,95 €)
- Jack Wolfskin “Athmosphere” Down Pant (119,95 €)
- Suunto Ambit 3 Peak (449,99 €)
- Silva Trailrunner II Headlamp (70,- €)
- Chainsen Pro for Ice and Snow (39,95 €)
- Millet “Basecamp” Down Sleeping bag (239,95 €)
- HOKA Stinson ATR (160,- €)
- Salomon Trail Gaiters Low (24,95 €)
- Leki Trailrunning Stick “Micro Stick Carbon” (129,95 €)
Manaslu: Fundraising through Photographs
This is aimed at the participants of the 2015 Manaslu Trail Race for whom these photos will have obvious meaning! Thanks to Mark Brightwell for the photography and the initiative to collect donations in this way.
First up, thanks for bearing with me.
The link is now live.
You can now order prints
. The proceeds will go to Trail Running Nepal’s ‘Solar Lights’ initiative.
Here’s how it works:
The original link I sent now works. This one should also take you there:
Go to ‘Open Gallery’
You can then chose ‘Slide Show’ or you can just scroll through.
Click on a photo you like to take it from the gallery.
Click on it once more to enlarge it.
Click again to reduce it.
Click ‘Buy Photo’ tab (top right)
Now select Size. It sounds obvious but you need to match the dimensions to the shot eg 10 x 10 is a square image – some of the images in the gallery are square, so would be appropriate. Others are landscape and thus with 10 x 10, you would lose a lot from the edges.
Next chose Lustre or Gloss. Particularly if you are looking to frame the images (which I recommend), I would strongly recommend Lustre. The difference is well explained here:
You then arrive at the Crop page. It’s important that you check the crop. You can select ‘Edit Crop’. Anything outside the red lines you will lose. So move the crop around until you have the fit you are happy with.
When you are happy, click ‘Done’ and follow the steps to ‘Check Out’.
What happens next?
The images you’ve ordered are sent to the very best professional lab in the UK, Loxley Colour. They do the necessary colour correction, print the images and then dispatch them.
They do dispatch internationally but there are exceptions. I’m pretty sure they won’t dispatch to Columbia or Nepal. In these cases they will dispatch to me and we can arrange onwards postage.
Ultimately, from an artistic and egotistic point of view, I want my images to be hanging on your walls. And that’s why my main offering is of prints from a top end colour lab.
However, I am not inflexible and ultimately, what’s much more important is generating funds for more clean, sustainable light in the Manaslu communities (and that you are satisfied – a close second 😉 )
So, if you are writing articles for example, and you need the digital images, let me know and we can sort something out.
Black & White:
I’m about to upload a few more images to the gallery. Some are Black & White. If you see a colour image you like and want to see it in Black & White, let me know and I’ll edit it for you.
The proceeds of each purchase will be significant: 70%-80%
The costs I incur from Shootproof and Paypal are the only subtractions.
I will keep you informed of the amount raised and will periodically send this to Trail Running Nepal’s ‘Solar Lights’ fund.
I hope this will be the win/win I am aiming for. Thank you for your support – and your patience.
I want you to get something beautiful for your homes; something that will conjure great memories and perhaps spark fresh inspiration.
And I think we all want to do what we can to continue supporting the communities in which we ‘Ran for Light’.
Thanks again to Richard & Dhir for organising and directing the Manaslu Trail Race and for bringing together such a wonderful group of people.
Grande! Bravo! but most of all Dhanyabad!
Manaslu Trail Race reviews / feedback
“The Manaslu Trail race was one of my most beautiful experiences of “running” in the high mountains. The impressions were very strong and now, some days later, it seemed like a dream for me.” – Bill Nickl
“It was a real challenge for me. It’s easy to run a stage race at low altitudes with lots of comfort, but here it’s a different story! It was a great experience and I met and got to know people on a different level than you would normally do within 10 days. For me it was somehow not a race. Really happy I did it!” – Nina
“It was over all the most awesomest *add another superlative here* event I have done in my life. Already looking at mustang race :)” – Susanna
“Plus une aventure qu’une course ce magnifique trail hors des sentiers battus nous a permis de découvrir un Népal resté encore authentique. Une organisation au top!!!” – Maude Berthoud
“The Manaslu Trail Race blew my expectations away. Off the grid in another world for a week and a half with new found friends and never ending breathtaking scenery. A highly recommended life changing trip for all runners and adventurers who love the mountains.” – Stephen England
“An unforgettable and humbling experience! I am walking away with a love for Nepal, stage racing and 50 new best friends from around the world. This adventure is challenging both mentally and physically, with high altitude, spectacular views, and remote mountain wilderness. Get outside your comfort zone, push the boundaries of what you think is possible and immerse yourself in another culture. Thank you to the entire team for making this possible!” – Tiffany
“A very big experience for me.” – Franz Hirtzy
“Great adventure, amazingly well organized under these difficult circumstances. and always some nice surprises and experiences. Thanks for everything done!” – Fred Hackl
Stephan and Barbara Tassani-Prell
Hi Richard,We just arrived at home and we are missing you, Dhir and all the others from the organisation team, too!I think the distances of the stages are perfect, because of the high altitude. My favorite place was Sama with the impressive view to the summit of Manaslu and the finish at the Hinang gompa with the view to the Chuli Himal and the nice place there in front of the Monastary. I was very impressed by the trails. They are technical but not to hard and most runable and very different every day. For me it was really my best Trailrunning experience since more than 20 years of Trailrunning!The most difficulty for me and Barbara was crossing the Pass, because of the high altitude and the very early start, but we did it!The accommodations are very simple but most of them are very nice and the staff was great!People are so friendly in Nepal! This is not to compere with Europe!We want to come back soon! If you have more ideas, please tell me.Yours Stephan and Barbara
Tite Togni (YOGAXRUNNERS)
“Sister, take this blanket, drink a lot of tatopani (hot water) and just enjoy”. With these essential recommendations, Mira Rai who ran (and won) the race last year, left me at the onset of this 4th edition of Manaslu Mountain Trail Race 2015: 8 stages on the least beaten of all treks in Nepal, 10 times less than the close area of Annapurna.Manaslu, the ‘Mountain of Manas’, the Spirit, Man in its essence, that is not the body even if in its most athletic form, but the intelligence that lies deep inside, was the white cathedral we approached like pilgrims: barefoot, in tiptoes, with no clues of distance, elevation, profile but just following the course marks of the unique team of organisers Dhir, Richard, Lizzy & crew.Where else you can run, walk, hike, crawl for days ranging from Vertical and SkyRaces in tropical forest to freezing and frozen snow treks up to a Base Camp or through a Pass at 5160m and finally drop exhausted on a monk’s mattress?Where else you can receive a deeper lesson of humility when you think you are exhausted and you approached by the porters who are carrying on their backs two of your 10 kilo bags, flying up and down the same way in plastic sandals ?
Manaslu, the bare, fierce 8000m peak was always there to answer: you are not your body, your senses, your fears, your muscles, your lungs, but in essence you are like me, you are Man-as, Spirit, Energy in motion. Enjoy.
I’ve been thinking about this and you almost want two different perspectives. A relative newbie and a seasoned multi stager with altitude in the legs and lungs. I think the two types will say rather different things so any article could be split into these two types with some overlap. Anyway here’s a few words that may help (or not). I’ll be writing a blog on the event and then things I’d consider I’ll send that to you when it’s done.
1. The trails compared to those in West Australia could well have been on another planet. The amount of vertical ascent and the gradients seemed endless in the Himalaya compared to somewhere that has hills maybe reaching 400m on a good day. The shoes though faired better, the hard old granites of Australia trash shoes very quickly in comparison to the Himalayas. The trails are used as proper roads on the Manaslu circuit so were generally really good out of necessity and wide enough most of the time for mule/yak trains and runners (with the landslide sections the obvious exception)
2. Distances are irrelevant. The amount of time you’re on your feet is much more important and 25-30mins/km was not unusual at altitude (for me at least). Its slower than walking but the apparent effort is definitely not the same. Descending the moraine boulder fields were the biggest challenge for me around the Bimtang area having never encountered these massive moraines before my brain just couldn’t process the route down so that made it frustratingly slow, I’m also not used to running steps of which there were plenty in the first few days from Soti Khola to Lihi. The trails are technical, but with practice doable, if you live somewhere with similar terrain such as the Alps I can see it would be less of a mental and physical challenge and this was borne out by the resultant speed of the runners at the end of the day. Those of us without access to these kind of trails, while not overly technical but specific in skills, really suffered compared to our normal terrains.
3. The area is phenomenal. The mountains, glaciers, rivers- the sheer vastness of the landscape and the power of the natural forces acting in it are like nowhere I have ever been-it is breath taking where ever you look and constantly changing and challenging. In some ways I think we were lucky there were so few people on the trails this year and the isolation and distance from the rest of the world really hit home. This is a place of stark rugged beauty where incredibly tough and resilient people live and having travelled a fair amount I can think of nowhere else like it. It has certainly carved out a space inside me that’s for sure.
4. For me the greatest difficulty was getting over stage 1! Your guinea pig stage with stunning views of Ganesh Himal made me seriously doubt my suitability for the event. 2kms up and down in 21kms on ridiculously steep terrain made me think that if every day after that was similar I really wasn’t ready at all and should just go home there and then! In truth it was maybe day 4 before I got over this shock. While I was slow in the high terrain I enjoyed the high altitude days. I was surprised at how difficult I found some of the descents to be (again lack of familiarity with the terrain and a deep seated self-preservation need not to break an ankle miles away from anywhere). So my greatest difficulty was me and my perceived weaknesses. You are only ever at odds with yourself in an event like this and you find out if you really are strong enough. I certainly didn’t have confidence going in (a mistake) but feel a better about my abilities now its over.
5. Things I wouldn’t do without if planning on taking part. (i) Poles! On the steep sections they gave aching legs a real break and gave a focus to the rhythm of walking.
(ii) A damn good down jacket. I took two, one lighter weight and one heavy for evenings. Both were invaluable but I live somewhere hot and feel the cold
(iii) If you’re a protein lover recovery protein drinks are a low weight high value item. The diet is very carb-rich as it needs to be but the carnivores were obsessing about meat by the middle of the event. Nearly everyone lost between 2-4kgs, mostly just keeping warm so you need to be able to eat.
(iv) if you do live near mountains, or are planning on racing, time spent running the biggest mountains you can find at the highest altitudes you can find would be invaluable if that’s an option for you. I think without these you won’t be racing just taking part. (Not a problem for me as that was the plan)
(v) if you don’t like being in the dark the 4am walk across the pass could do with a really good head torch for the first hour and a half!(vi) wet wipes. Obviously hot water isn’t something you’ll encounter for a while and some days you can’t face glacial melt water the get a quick wash. Wet wipes gave the illusion of cleanliness!(vii) on advisement we took some greens powder with us. The diet is good but a bit of back up from a lightweight product full on nutrients you won’t be getting could just help you stay physically together that little bit longer
Nothing else stands out that isn’t already on your equipment list.
Hope this helps a little.
Thanks again-hope you’ve caught up on sleep and that things are improving in Kathmandu (but I guess they aren’t).
- How did you find the trails compared to where you run at home?
Obviously a lot more vertical, but not very technical.
- The distances seem relatively short, but how did they feel with altitude and the nature of the trail underfoot?
Distance is a very abstract concept in Nepal…
- What impressions did you have of the manaslu area? Along side the running, what did you enjoy?Impression: It is an area of many transitions. From jungle and hindu culture, it takes only a few days of passing through forest, steppe and finally high alpine, while the look of people, their clothes and architecture gradually changes into that of Tibet.
Enjoyed: The good company of runners and staff. Tibetan culture.
- What was the greatest difficulty you faced?
Personally it was being sick, but that’s bad advertisement, so let’s say…
- Any recommendations for others who might go next year?
Race, but also view it as a travel through amazing environments. Take your time to look up from the trail every noe and then. Stop. Be amazed.
- Feel free to make up a question and answer it yourself!
There has been a lot of news buzz after the earthquake. What’s your impression?
Many trails and some buildings were damaged. The locals have put in tremendous amounts of work, and by the time of the race, both trails and accommodation had been repaired to working condition. The decline in tourists was, however, noticeable. To local economy needs people who stay in the lodges, buying food and drinks!
Andrea Mondini – Italy
Ciao, with italian slow time but you get a feedback;-)! Thanks again to you and your staff for you amazing job, until you’re not in Nepal you cannot understand how hard it is to organize such races, but since I did and it all worked perfect, confratualtion again for the great effort!!So here my answers:1. Trails were actually perfect since they are the only way to move and used daily from the local populations they had nothing to be jelaous of our trails in the Alps!2. The great effort I think was a mixture between altitude but also getting used to different food habits and eventual associate health problems, no food, no fuel ;-)!! personally for me the acclimatation time worked perfeckt, just had a little headache coming down form Manaslu Base Camp and Tibetan border, felt great at Larke La3. I enjoyed every single step I made, even if painful, landscape was just stunning all around us, and was great to see how local peolple still live, and what I admired most is their happiness to live, always smiling even while carrying 30 or more kg on their backs, never complaining, just a lesson for life! and also in Kathmandu people are really poor but they are nice, never felt in trouble walking alone even in the darkness, much safe then in lots of our “civilized cities”4. I should say losing my bag…but actually it was part of the adventure. I think the greatest difficult is the envorinement in which you have to live, just cold water so hard to wash, not really clean rooms and beds, but as always when you are, let’s say, in trouble it helps to get closer with your adventure fellows and so did we, great international group with great mood and so everything looks nice or at least difficulties are soustainable or softer!5. No prejudice, just enjoy every minute and bring a positive attitude!
Our race doctor, Dr Bikash Basyal
Emergency contact with race
This information is out of date until November 2019 when it will be updated.
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Micro spikes recommended – 2015 update
Microspikes. They’re not really designed for deep snow or slopes, but they help a lot.
As you will certainly know, in 2014 snowfall brought by Cyclone Hudhud gave rise to a disaster in the Annapurna region of Nepal. In 2013 a similar snowfall happened and blocked many high passes. Philippe Gatta, a French endurance athlete trying to run the Great Himalaya Trail called off his attempt (video) as many passes he’d still to attempt were blocked with snow.
This year less snow fell than 2013 but still a considerable amount in a short space of time. The Larkya pass is not a dangerous one. It has negligible avalanche risk and no real dangerous sections. It’s a steady up and a steady down. Everybody passed last year without incident, but there was plenty of slipping going on, not least for the mules carrying the baggage, and this is not pleasant. We had some none-slip studs for shoes which we handed out, but what was really effective were shoe chains or microspikes. They are absolutely perfect for this pass crossing.
This year we’ve sourced a batch of micro spikes from a local supplier for those that don’t have already so you can cross the pass with limited slip.
For those trekking, if you need to buy, then you can find in Snowland Trekking which is in a small alley under Potala Hotel, close to OR2K restaurant in Thamel for around Rs 1000 – 1500 (USD 10-15) depending on the type. Absolutely worth it. Necessary for your own safety and others. Snowland is a manufacture of other trekking equipment like jackets, sleeping bags etc.