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Nepal, long an expected location for RacingThePlanet

By Sam Healey

Choosing the location for RacingThePlanet’s annual roving event is an enviable task. With the opportunity to race in so many diverse countries, climates, terrains and cultures, the list of possible sites is legion. 

However, for RacingThePlanet’s founder Mary Gadams, Nepal has long been somewhere she’s wanted to stage a race, and she has been steadily laying the foundations for an event there since the roving race was inaugurated in 2008.  “It’s been in the back of mind for many years now,” she says. “Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it combines the key elements of a RacingThePlanet event:  awe inspiring landscapes, a variety of technical terrains, a challenging climate, and a wonderful culture that competitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in.” 

The Pokhara Valley and the Annapurna mountain range are world famous for trekking and mountaineering.  Although the area was long used as a trade route, being the easiest way from Tibet through to the plains of India, road access to the valley was only established in the late 1960s. Ever since that time, both mountaineers and hikers have been lured by tales of its incredible beauty, and the wonderful hospitality of the locals.  

The photographs sent back to headquarters from the recent recce to Pokhara and Mustang have provided a tantalizing glimpse of some of the locations along the course. Preparations are well underway to pinpoint potential campsites and tea-houses for overnight accommodation and the next scouting trip will take place later in the year.  Although the course isn’t expected to rise above 3500m, competitors will face a great deal of altitude change throughout the event.

Mary continues, “It’s always fascinating to see who is attracted to different locations, and in Nepal we expect a lot of endurance athletes who are excited about the opportunity to get off trail in an area where this is not usually possible, some more accomplished athletes who have challenged themselves on mountain courses before but never in such a remote and exceptional setting, and of course, we hope to welcome back veterans of other RacingThePlanet events who are looking forward to tackling a race in a completely different environment.”

“This race is going to be a totally new experience for us” she concludes, “We’ve never staged a 250km event in such a mountainous region, and doing it for the first time in the Himalayas is just going to be fantastic.”


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