Final Preparations for the 4th Manjushree Trail Race

Preparations for the "Fourth Manjushree Trail Race," set to begin on April 5, have reached their final stages. The organizers held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that the race's setup is nearly complete.

During the press conference, race president Subash Thapa revealed that this year's race would continue the tradition of the past events. He mentioned that 270 runners from 16 countries, including Nepal, have registered for this edition. Among these, 232 are from Nepal.

Thapa also said that an additional 50 to 100 athletes are expected to participate through international organizations like Asia Trail Masters, stating, "The registration deadline is April 1. We anticipate many more runners will join by then."

This year's race has been designated as a selection event following an agreement with Asia Trail Masters.

Asia Trail Masters is an internationally recognized series of trail races in Asia, organized by Kuai Sports Promotions Limited in Hong Kong. It is also an annual championship featuring a transparent and straightforward points system. Furthermore, the Grandmaster Quest offers equal opportunities to runners across all categories.

According to the organizers, the season concludes with an "ATM Final," where the ultimate winner is crowned. Now in its eighth year, the series will include 30 races across 12 to 15 Asian countries, with key events in Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.

The third Manjushree Trail Race in 2023 saw 88 participants, including 67 Nepali nationals and 21 foreigners.

The Manjushree Trail Race, known for being the longest in Nepal, covers seven major peaks around Kathmandu Valley—Jamacho, Shivpuri, Nagarkot, Phulchowki, Champadevi, Bhasmasur, and Chandragiri. Runners will ascend a total of 12,695 meters over a distance of 100 miles.

The race is inspired by the legend of Manjushree, a monk who is said to have visited the hills surrounding Kathmandu to drain a pond, forming the valley. Marked in white and yellow, the trail is popular for hiking and cycling, guiding runners through forests, rivers, fields, and villages. Approximately 70 percent of the course is off-road.

The 100-mile race will begin at 8 AM on April 5 from Single Tree in Ichangunarayan. Similarly, a 100 km race will start from Jhule at 8 PM the same day, a 50 km race from Badikhel at 7 AM on April 6, and a 30 km KVR stage race of Trailmandu, associated with the Manjushree Trail Race, will kick off from Dollu in Pharping at 8 AM on April 6.
This marks the final stage of the five-stage Trailmandu series, with 100 runners participating. Thapa also mentioned that a 10 km race will begin from Kalupande Hill on April 6, ending in Single Tree, Ichangunarayan.

To support the runners, 19 checkpoints will offer food, water, and basic medical supplies. Accommodations for rest are arranged at three locations. Emergency services, including medical teams and ambulances, are coordinated with local hospitals, Thapa added.

The route, first envisioned by renowned runners Lizzie Hawker, Seth Olpin, and Roger Henken in 2015, was initially established in 2016. Jimmy Ostrom, Raj Pradhan, Narayan Acharya, and others have since refined it, with recent efforts from Trailmandu and the Manjushree Trail Races institutionalizing improvements, markings, and GPS tracking. Finalizing the 170 km route involved multiple stages and took about three years.

Thapa also announced a special 2 km race on April 6 to support social inclusion, featuring events for differently-able boys and girls, in partnership with the Nepal Down Syndrome Society. Twenty participants are expected in this race.

Narayan Acharya, Vice President of Manjushree Trail Race, shared that this kind of adventure race offers a sense of meditation. Reflecting on the past, he mentioned, "Races were held around 2012, but they were not as long. This kind of race started only later."

He highlighted that the 100-mile Manjushree Trail Race represents a significant endeavor towards long-distance running.

Acharya also emphasized the cultural immersion aspect of the race. "It's a race that spans different districts, weaving through Tamang, Newari, and hilly settlements. It offers a unique opportunity to experience diverse cultures and connect with nature," he explained. According to him, participants in this race have also achieved commendable results in international competitions.

President Thapa said that the Manjushree Trail Race will be viewed with special importance at the international level as is internationally recognized, being affiliated with the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), which sets global standards for trail running.

“Completing the 'Manjushree Trail Race' according to ITRA criteria awards participants with six ITRA points, meeting the minimum qualifications for international trail races,” he said.

Winners of the 170 km race will receive cash prizes of Rs 60,000, Rs 40,000, and Rs 20,000 for first, second, and third places, respectively. In the 100 km category, the prizes are Rs 40,000, Rs 25,000, and Rs 15,000, and for the 50 km race, Rs 30,000, Rs 15,000, and Rs 10,000. Similarly, the KVR 100 stage race winners will receive Rs 20,000, Rs 10,000, and Rs 5,000 along with medals and certificates.

In addition to the new special dimension introduced in this edition and incentives for the athletes, those who finish within the top five positions in the 100-mile, 100-km, and 50-km categories of the Manjushree Trail Race will automatically qualify for the Asia Trail Masters. There is also a significant opportunity for some athletes to participate in it.

It was mentioned that the recently established Nepal Adventure Running Federation, under the auspices of the National Sports Council, has given special attention to this race and has offered its support.

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