The Annapurna 100 is destined to be one of the world’s great trail running races. It’s got hills, trails, forests, culture and probably the only ultra race where you get a tikka on your forehead at 50 km and a garland of flowers around your neck. It’s Nepal’s original ultra-marathon and this year its fittingly on the first day of 2011.
It started with a cricketer. On October 31st 1995 Sir Ian Botham, world-renowned cricketer, started this
100 km race. Twelve local runners proved that a run from Pokhara to Poon Hill and back was possible in less than 12 hours. The route normally would take an average trekker 5 days. The winner took 11 hours 55 minutes and 55 seconds. Since then, due to a decade of conflict, only a couple more races have been run. Now the race is back on track and becoming an established annual event with a successful 100km race in 2009, and a new 71 km trail-only race in 2010.
2011 will be the best race ever, with a new 75% trail course on delightful paths with stupendous views.
There are three ultra-distances to choose from, including a none-too-easy 100 km over some very hilly terrain.
Such is the challenge of this race that it is now a qualification race for India’s ‘The High’. (http://www.thehigh.in/)
While in January the nights can be pretty chilly, the skies are typically clear which means warm days and
fantastic mountain views. The route-map but the above shows the first part minus the return to Pokhara for the 100 km.
“The Nepal trip has made me stronger in my mind. My motto in difficult situations: ‘If you can do the
Annapurna you can do anything.’” – Jo Schoonbroodt
– Jogger, www.jogger.tk
The course heads out of Pokhara (820 m) and soon any trace of the urban world is left behind. While slowly
climbing on wide trails the views from the Dhampus ridge are spectacular. On popular trekking trails we continue to Pitam Deurali (2100 m), through Landruk (1565 m) and the Modi river (1350), then up the long steep climb to Ghandruk (1940 m). The 50 km turns South here for the descent to its finish at Birethanti (1025 m).
“Quite possibly the toughest one day race I’ve ever done.” – Rob Cousins – Adventurer,
The 70 and 100 km continue from Ghandruk up to Tadapani (2630 m) on a beautiful forest trail. Then
comes a welcome descent to the Bhurungdi khola (2400 m) before heading steeply up to Deurali (3210m). This ridge leading to Ghorepani is delicious running with absolutely fabulous views of Annapurnas and the Manaslu range to the east and the Dhaulagiri range to the West.
From Ghorepani (2860 m) you head for home along a section of the Great Himalaya Trail lower route. For the 70 km, home is Birethanti, joining the 50 km finishers, after another 1835 m of descent.
The 100 km runners continue to complete the circuit to Pokhara via Kavre which is reached after a last 700 m
climb, the long Naudanda ridge from where most will see the night lights of Pokhara, and a final stretch along the town’s beautiful lake.
Feeding stations are frequent and run by local villages and many will be out to watch and cheer you. Children might tell you you’re last or going slow – but they’re just joking. Watch out for buffaloes and goats on the trail or people carrying huge bundles of firewood or fodder. Go around pray flag poles to the left and keep a small handkerchief with you to dry your sweat in case someone gives you a red tikka mark on your
Registration for the race is on Friday 31st 2010 and payment will be taken then. The race starts at 6.00am
on Saturday 1st close to the airport in Pokhara. There will be lots of travellers and citizens of Kathmandu in
Pokhara to bring in the New Year. It will be fun but take it easy! More details including locations will be
available on the website shortly.
Visit the website at:Trailrunningnepal.org/