Ultrarunning Himalaya: 9 days of pain at the Manaslu Trail Race

Woman looking at mountain

Reposted from a report by Nina Koch, a DYNAFIT Athlete, in 2018 on the Dynafit website.

Don’t let this report put you off! Nina contracted a stomach bug and suffered greatly during the first four stages of the race and never felt at full power apart from on stage 1. This is not a common experience! Even so, Nina found that altitude was not her strong point, but said: “I would never have passed up the experience, the people I got to know, and the time spent in these wonderful mountains. That was worth all of the pain and misery.” That says something, right? Read on!

Ultrarunning Himalaya: 9 days of pain at the Manaslu Trail Race

“7 stages, 92 miles and 28,500 ft of climbing. Myself and 52 additional people were on a mission to finish the Manaslu Trail Race, which takes place on the eighth-highest mountain on earth. Compared to the Transalpine Run, I thought this race would be very doable from a distance perspective, but before the race even started I found that the altitude was already giving me headaches. We weren’t exactly sure what we were getting into just yet!

The race kicked off on November 11th, 2017. Prior to the race beginning, all of the Manaslu Trail Race participants had two days to spend in Kathmandu for sightseeing, shopping in the Thamel retail area and getting to know each other. After our short time spent in Kathmandu, all 53 of us were eager to get out of the dusty, overcrowded city and head out to the Himalayas.

In order to not overload the mules that would be bringing our bags to our destinations everyday, we were limited to 22 lbs. of gear, per person. In Nepal, the “comfort” of “teahouses” are offered to you along the trekking trails for a place to rest. However, the “teahouses” don’t have showers or warm water, unheated bedrooms and standing toilets – so, as soon as the sun set around us, we immediately felt how ice cold it was and how small a 22lb allotment of gear really was! These situations made this race feel like a true adventure, which was precisely what attracted me to do it! I wanted to get out of my comfort zone!

Stage by stage

1st stage: 23 km, +1900 m of climbing, 1600 meters of descent

I had a great start! At first, the course was very steep and snaked slowly into the mountains, but towards the end it followed a river all the way to the finish. I finished as 2nd European woman, behind the unbeatable Ragna Debats; trail world champion. The noodle soup at the finish was to be my last meal for awhile. Not even three hours later it completely destroyed me and my digestive system. So, I took antibiotics and think positively that everything would be better after a good night’s sleep.

Dare you read on!? Find the full article with beautiful images on the Dynafit website.

Try also another race report from Lily Dyu on Sidetracked Magazine.

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