It may be strange that an ultra trail event is being organised on a Tuesday, but there is a very good reason for that. Tomorrow, 25 April, it is exactly two years ago that Nepal got struck by a massive earthquake that killed at least 9000 people and injured 22,000. Entire communities in and around capital city Kathmandu were destroyed or at least cut-off from the rest of the world for many days. Ultra Trail Nepal is set up by Som Tamang who lost his own brother in the disaster, and is a non-profit event to help Batase and neighbouring communities with the rebuilding and relieve efforts. You can read about Som's remarkable story in our Talking Trail Running episode from not so long ago.
UT Nepal is set to stay and determined to become a fixed appointment on the trail running and the Asia Trail Master Championship calendar. This year the longest race covers a respectable 85 km - so all finishers also score a point for the Grandmaster Quest - and is essentially a run from Kathmandu to Batase.
The race begins in the tourist district of Thamel, in the heart of Kathmandu. It then heads into the Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve, and then to Chisopani (2300m) where it joins the main trekking route to Helambu and Langtang. From there it goes downhill to Patybanjyang, where you will experience some great views of the Himalayas. From Patybanjyang you will follow the main Helambu trekking route to Thankuni, from there you will follow the trail to Batase Village.
Nepal has many strong trail runners and they will be starting as favourites for the inaugural event. Samir Tamang is well-known on the international circuit and arguably is the man to beat. In the women's, however, Australian Kim Matthews is certainly one of the big favourites. Matthews won the UTKC 70 race in Thailand in February and showed great speed in that race. Another fine result now in Nepal would bring her into the mix for the ATM Championship honours. As she lives in Thailand, she will feature in more ATM races this season, too.