Home
Ultra News, Results
Ultra Calendar
AURA Info
Australian Records
Messages+Emails
100km World Cup
24hr World Challenge
Points race
Contacts
Links
Ultramag Editorials
Race Directors


Click here for CoolRunning


CoolRunning Web
This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

For more info about Australian Ultra Runners' Association click here
Annapurna Mandala Trail 2001

Annapurna Mandala Trail 2001

Circuit of the Annapurna Massif, Nepal - 320km race in 9 stages over 10 days

" Happiness is on the path "

"There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path". Siddharta Gautama, more famous under the name of Buddha, didn't arouse this thought accidentally. In the country of the "Paths to Heaven ", each step is supposed to lead to Nirvana… The thirty-five runners of the Opus II of the Annapurna Mandala Trail were in touch with it for 325 kilometers in the heart of the "Mountain Continent". 325 kms of temporal wandering and 28.000 metres of heavenly suffering before knowing an earthly liberation. A relief that everyone was looking for there… An absolute which doesn’t exist…. Through this experience, some were taught, others understood, that, in the infinitely large, man is infinitely small.

" Padam, Padam, Padam…" From Mount Manaslu (8.156 m) in the East, to the impressive mountainous range of the Dhaulagiris (8.167 m) in the West, and going through Annapurna I (8.091 m) and its huge mountainous massif, this monotonous chant was carried up by the movement of the prayer wheels to the Marsiangoli River and its lunar valley. Then, after crossing the Nissang La (5.416 m) bearing in mind the "Horses of the Wind", it went across the deserted hills of the Mustang before following the capricious waves of the Kali Gandaki. Time to walk up the " 3.000" steps on the heights of Ghorapani and of a fall in the gorges of the Modi Khola; Tal, Chame, Pisang, Ghyaru, Manang, Khangsar, Phedi, Kagbeni, Marpha, Lete and Ghandrunk were only memories in the Karka of the Australian Camp. In the shade of the Annapurnas and of the majestic Macchapuchhare, the lament was still in the tune of the song…." Padam, Padam, Padam…" had drawn the path of happiness for thirty-one men and one woman. Padam Ghaley could release his light laugh and welcome his team. For the second time, the unfinished mandala could achieve a happy-purpose.

Many years ago, Padam Ghaley was a first rope leader and opened the way for the Westerners yearning for a " 8.000". He lost a part of his lungs in a vale leading to Mount Everest. A little out of breath, he has always a north-wall hammer within reach to lead rope parties to a "7.000". Manager of the race of Annapurna Mandala Trail, when two paths open up to him, he rarely chooses the most difficult. A choice the competitors of the AMT didn’t benefit of. Demand being the key word when "mountain" rythms with "competition", the 2001 edition of "the altitude race the fastest in the world in differences in heights", according to Nicolas Peschanski, a Himalayist doctor, was very rough. It was longer (325 km), steeper (28.000 m), there were more stages (9), the Annapurna Mandala Trail is meant to be "extreme". A feature noticed by Patrice Wolff. He was the leader of a party from Alsace (France) made up of seven runners; the twelfth man of the 2000 rope party, drew number 13 for his second attempt. The level of the first third of the rope party being superior to the last century, Patrice was wearing his usual smile under Nepalese rhododendrons. Anyhow, in front of the "8.000" which he secretly keeps dreaming and longing for, he missed the "dinosaurs of the extreme", understand René Heintz, Marc Perier and Gérard Verdenet. "Last year, the group was mainly made up of tough runners and the general spirit was different. This year, we have had to deal with far more robust runners and they started the race as if there was only one stage. It changed the philosophy of the race. Some runners had an individualistic character while for such of difficult race, it is necessary to show solidarity."

" The Himalayas are matchless"

Fond of long-distance and of sands, Patrice is also a mountain runner. " I have run three times in Reunion Island, but you can’t compare it to the Himalayas. In Nepal, you are in the high mountains and you have to be present for nine days. … In a race like Annapurna Mandala Trail, you can’t cheat because you question yourself everyday. You have to be able to manage everything, especially the difficulties which have been added to this year’s programme, for example the climbing to Ghyaru… This year, the best ones attacked from the very beginning and three days later at Manang, they were completely worn out… To this rythm, if there had four more stages, I would have won a few places…" Some places that Patrice might pick up next year as he is planning a third climbing of the Thorong Pass. "This climb is so wonderful…" A feeling he shares with Gilles Greffier, a former runner of the AMT. On the other hand, the changes in the route didn’t disturb him "Everything is relative", admits the Belfort runner, who was the 7th in 2000 and the 10th last spring. "It was more difficult, but it was the game…Some chaps got involved very quickly but the altitude calmed them down very quickly. Once very tired, they become less ambitious… besides, they couldn’t remain indifferent to the surroundings. Nepal is imposing and we can learn a lot from its people…During the fourth stage, I looked for the Tare Gompa monastery. I spent nine hours in the mountains, climbed to 4.900 metres in the snow though the finishing line was at 4.400…I then lost all my chances of being in the final placing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed an exceptional experience in the heart of the Himalayas. I had come back for the race, the country and the organizer…Well, I will come back again because all I lost in the competition, I gained it in emotions." The strong man from the Vosges (in France) choked with emotion when Jérôme Edou, the number one of Mandala Trekking, the Nepalese Agency which organized the race, awarded him with the "Challenge of sportsmanship". "Being René (Heintz)’s successor is extremely moving…But I was particularly happy for Nar and Babu, because they did make a nice race."

Beyond philosophical feelings or metaphysical considerations, the Annapurna Mandala Trail is a competition. The Nepalese Nar Bahadur Shah, the winner of the "zero edition", highlighted his speed on marathon (2 h 24) and his knowledge of the race on the "Paths of Heaven". Except Pascal Beaury, his last century’s heir apparent, nobody was able to stand up to him. Winner of the Manang - Tare Gompa - Phedi stage, the Frenchman display all his talents and competences as an orientor and mountain dweller to get out of anonymity in which he was confined due to his serious stomach problems during his first stage. At the time he was previous to the last one, more than six hours from Nar Bahadur, the man from Lozere (France) celebrate his 50th birthday while he was making up for the sixth place. Potential heir apparent, he had rather emphasize the Nepalese’s achievements. " Like most of the runners, they were better prepared this year and what they achieved is nevertheless exceptional. Although they belong to the country, they are "plain-runners" since they live in Kathmandu (1.300m) and only a man like Stéphane Grivel would have been able to challenge Bahadur (Shah) and Babu Raja (Sherstha)."

"A special mountain race"

With Jannick Juchereau, Emmanuel Villeneuve and Didier Le Mauff, the French delegation had some "characters" to challenge the Nepalese. The first one had left nothing to chance because like for the 6000 D (31st) and Reunion Island (31st), he had prepared himself with the most scientific and professional rigour. This preparation added to his physical capacities and stamina, made him one of the favourites. The third at Chyamje, he remained it up to the summits of Dhampus, in spite of the repetitive attacks and the unreasonable risks of his rope companions. but like him, they were shattered like arrows on the dreadful altitude wall of Ghyaru. "What a stage…remember Jannick. But also what a race…Imagining a physical strain in such an exceptional environment is unique. You can’t involve yourself in such an endurance test by chance. You need time, physical and mental stamina."

Emmanuel Villeneuve was one of the brave ones in this race. But a lack of luck and the side effects of altitude stuck him to the seventh place. As to Didier Le Mauff, he discovered that the Annapurna Mandala Trail was not a stroll in the country of the Roof of the World. The man of the Sands (15th) and of the Silk (5th) managed to get to the 12th place in the Himalayan rope expedition. " It’s really a race «Special Mountain» and I didn’t expect it…. In the extreme, it is really an up-market race and if I had to do it again, I would take 6 months to get ready and I would be fit and fresh as a daisy because from the 1st stage, I was in the red." After six long races within nine months, Didier recovered only after the crossing of the pass. An experience that he and his adventure pal, Patrick Renault, will never forget. " When you arrive up there at sunrise, that is very cold (minus 20°), that you are at 5.400 m and that all around you, there are a lot of summits and this big gap which opens on Tibet plateau, you know what the word "impressive" means…" As a challenge man, Patrice Balard has found what he was looking for in Nepal. " Proving that you can do things which are most unusual without taking illegal products." If the thought is more than praiseworthy, his motivation is deeply rooted in his intention to help the children who suffer from myopathy. " I always run in the hope of discovering a medicine and when in difficulty, thinking of them helps me to surpass myself and go further…" To end up the 5th in the 2001 AMT, Patrice had to go far, very far in the sufferings. "I really had to struggle… But I was extremely surprised by the very warm welcome of the local people. I was also astounded by the extraordinary and changing beauty of the landscapes around. Happily, I was with Pascal (Beaury) when I climbed down the pass. He told me we were in Mustang, a former Tibetan kingdom. I quivered, because coming to Tibet was for me, the achievement of a child dream. It only remains to me to reach stars."

"An athletic and philosophical crusade"

Pierre-Olivier Cueff was there for that, comparing the AMT 2001 to "a warriors’ horde led by an open-hearted and generous highlander, on the path of a competitive and philosophical crusade." Like the prayers-flags flapping in the air like the "Wind Horses", this metaphor will always be associated to the Annapurna Mandala Trail. Coming to the country of the "Roof of the World" was a great symbol for Pierre-Olivier. "I was rather young when my father died, and going so close to the sky gave me the opportunity to accomplish an initiation rite… To go through a door, to know my limits which, to some extent, are imposed by our children. Everyone in the race had their own goal, in which man, sometimes like an animal, became more human when he had reached his purpose. Anyway, I was astonished to see, in this unique and sometimes virgin surrounding, men come back, once the race was over, to come and help other people." This obvious solidarity didn’t mislead Pierre-Olivier and running on tracks, real arteries of the Nepalese mountains, made him say: " We were there to enjoy ourselves whereas the natives were there to work. our philosophy was not the same…but by pulling around some prayer-wheels on our racetracks, I think we went closer to them."

Marie-Jeanne Simons was the only woman in the race. She is an experienced climber: Aconcagua (6.995 m),Khantengri (7.010 m) and an attempt on Cho Oyu (8.153 m) which she had to give up at 8020 m; she was feeling well in the Annapurnas. For her, everything was decided within 5 weeks. " As soon as I hear the word "Himalayas", I turn up… she says, smiling. I must admit I was not prepared. However, I knew I would end up the race." Running in the mountains is not something new for Marie-Jeanne, but linking up 9 races in 10 days was something different for her. "I wasn’t disappointed and I think the atmosphere in the group was better than in expeditions where everybody keeps thinking of their 8.000 m…I especially appreciated the Nepalese runners’ friendliness. Each time they overtook me, they would stop in front of me and greet me with their hands together and said: "namasté didi" (hello little sister). Extraordinary…So, I still hesitate between the Sisha (8.013 m) in Tibet or the Himal Race in Nepal in November 2002…" At sixty, Christian Taque will never do the Himal Race. It is too long (1.200 kms), too high (40.000 m of positive and 7 passes higher than 5.000), too hard (23 days of efforts). but he finished the Annapurna Mandala Trail. "A race which has fulfilled all my expectations and even more than that, because of unparalleled beauty of the scenery, the friendly atmosphere in the group and the difficulty of the race. I did appreciate the varieties of the difficulties. But we knew about them from the start…I will always be grateful to Pascal (Beaury) for encouraging me to come to Nepal. I confess I had to wait until 60 to hear: Christian, you are unconscious. Besides, even if it was not always "the path to heaven" for me, the Annapurna Mandala Trail was really the most beautiful race in my life…"

Bruno Poirier


ANNAPURNA MANDALA TRAIL 2001

325 km

Etape 1 (Besi - Chyamje).
1. N.B. SHAH : 3 h 37.03 ; 2. M.D. MAHARJAN : 3 h 58.15 ; 3. J. JUCHEREAU : 3 h 58.45.

Etape 2 (Chyamje - Chame).
1. N.B. SHAH : 3 h 22.30 ; 2. B.R. SHRESTHA : 4 h 06.15 ; 3. E. VILLENEUVE : 5 h 01.15.

Etape 3 (Chame - Ghyaru - Manang).
1. N.B. SHAH : 4 h 29.47 ; 2. P. BEAURY : 4 h 53. 35 ; 3. B.R. SHRESTHA 5 h 06.27.

Etape 4 (Manang - Tare Gompa - Phedi).
1. P. BEAURY : 3 h 45.00 ; 2. N.B. SHAH : 3 h 59.00 ; 3 . B.R. SHRESTHA : 4 h 54.34.

Etape 5 (Phedi - Thorong Pass - Marpha).
1. N.B. SHAH : 6 h 46.37 ; 2. B. POIRIER : 7 h 04.54 ; 3. J. JUCHEREAU : 7 h 10.59.

Etape 6 (Marpha - Dana).
1. N.B. SHAH : 3 h 39.23 ; 2. B.R.SHRESTHA : 3 h 41.53 ; P. BEAURY : 3 h 46.12.

Etape 7 (Dana - Poon Hill).
1. N.B. SHAH : 3 h 29.30 ; 2. P. BEAURY 3 h 48.05 ; 3. M. D. MAHARJAN : 3 h 51.55

Etape 8 (Ghorapani - Ghandruk).
1. N.B. SHAH : 1 h 48.38 ; 2. B.R. SHRESTHA 1 h 57.40 ; 3. J. JUCHEREAU 1 h 58.57.

Etape 9 (Ghandruk - Dhampus).
1. N. B. SHAH : 1 h 49.45 ; 2. B.R. SHRESTHA 2 h 06.36 ; 3. M.D. MAHARJAN : 2 h 12.32.

Classement Final (325 km ; + 14.500 m ; - 13.500 m).
1 - Nar Bahadur SHAH 32 h 52’ 41"
2 - Babu Raja SHRESTHA 36 h 52’ 47"
3 - Jannick JUCHEREAU 37 h 39’ 15"
4 - Bruno POIRIER 38 h 36’ 07" ; 5 - Patrice BALARD 38 h 57’ 25"
6 - Pascal BEAURY 39 h 59’ 39"
7 - Emmanuel VILLENEUVE 41 h 39’ 07"
8 - Mickael DELONGLEE 43 h 57’ 01"
9 - Mahendra Dongol MAHARJAN 46 h 07’ 43"
10 - Gilles GREFFIER 46 h 25’ 04"
11 - Stephane ADAMIAK 46 h 33’ 09"
12 - Didier LE MAUFF 48 h 49’ 12"
13 - Patrice WOLFF 49 h 59’ 48"
14 - Mickael DOURNEL 50 h 29’ 39"
15 - Francis FAURE 52 h 31’ 52"
16 - Jacques DAUNAY 52 h 45’ 39"
17 - Alain DAUCH 53 h 09’ 58"
18 - Pierre-Olivier CUEFF 54 h 41’ 29"
19 - Michel KAYSER 55 h 17’ 27"
20 - Patrick RENAULT 55 h 30’ 38"
21 - Hubert MARBACH 59 h 15’ 15"
22 - Jean-François JOLIVET 59 h 27’ 51"
23 - Jean-Jacques MANGENEY 61 h 05’ 31"
24 - Luc GRAJWODA 61 h 35’ 50"
25 - Francis BEAUVALLET 62 h 04’ 46"
26 - Amerigo PUNTELLI 62 h 26’ 13"
27 - Chrsitian TAQUE 63 h 14’ 55"
28 - Philippe JOST 66 h 29’ 37"
29 - Philippe DEWITTE 67 h 21’ 22"
30 - Marie-Jeanne SIMONS 70 h 52’ 29"
31 - Pierre ZICKLER 76 h 18’ 58"
32 - Robert JAKSCH 97 h 37’ 35"
33 - Alain BLACTOT (abandon à Marpha)
34 - Ram Chandra SHRESTHA (abandon à Phedi)
35 - Pierrick LETANNEUR (abandon à Tara Gompa).


Annapurna Mandala Trail 2002

" To run over the Annapurnas, at the heart of the Nepalese Himalayas, with only a backpack and local hospitality to rely on: in short this is The Annapurna Mandala Trail. A race in stages, covering 320 km and at altitudes between 800 m and 5.400 m. From Besi Sahar to Dhampus, the 40 competitors must clamber up and speed down some 27.900 m of altitude changes in order to finally put down their backpacks. "

Distance : 350km over 9 stages
Start : Besi Sahar (820 m metres)
Finish : Australien Camp Dhampus (2.050 metres)
Altitude changes : 16.000 m ascent, 14.800m descent
Temperatures : between +30 and -20 degrees
Stages : eight standard runs (350 km)
Stage description :
Stage 1 : Besi Sahar (820 m) - Chyamje (1.430 m). Stage length : 4 - 7 hours (40 km) +1.600 m and -900 m
Stage 2 : Chyamje (1.430 m) - Chame (2.630 m). Stage length : 5 - 8 hours (35 km) +2.700 m and -1.300 m
Stage 3 : Chame (2.630 m) - Manang (3.535 m). Stage length : 4 - 7 hours (40 km) +1.900 m and -1.050 m
Stage 4 : Manang (3.535 m) - Tilicho Lake (5.195 m m) - Manang (3.535 m).
Stage length : 7 - 9 hours (30 km) +2.00 m and -2.000 m
Stage 5 : Manang (3.535 m) - Thorong Phedi (4.420 m). Stage length : 3 hours (15 km) +1.200 m and -200 m
Stage 6 : Phedi (4.420 m) - Thorong Pass (5.416 m) - Marpha (2.665 m).
Linked stage : 3 hours (5 km) +1.050 m and -50 m. Stage length : 4 - 7 hours (40km approx) +200 m and - 2.950 m
Stage 7 : Marpha (2.655 m) - Dana (1.410 m). Stage length : 4 - 7 hours (40 km) +600 m and -2.350 m
Stage 8 : Dana (1.410 m) - Poon Hill (3.193 m). Stage length : 3 - 5 hours (35 km) +2.400 m and -800 m
Stage 9 : Poon Hill (3.193 m) - Ghandruk (1.940 m) - Australien Camp Dhampus (2.050 m)
Stage length : 6 - 9 hours (45 km) +2.500 m and -3.100 m
Beginning of each stage : done by the runner using a card with the departure, check and arrival points.
Compulsory equipment : backpack, sleeping bag, survival blanket, headlamp with spare batteries, whistle, first-aid kit, a one-litre flask and 2000 calories of survival rations.
Note : poles are authorised.
Competitors : Numbers are limited to 40. Selection is done by files. Registration deadline 30th November 2001.
Next race : 8th - 24th March 2002
Registration fee : $ 2.000 USD or $ 1.400 USD without flights.

Contact in France : Himalaya’ Racers Association - C/O Bruno Poirier.
19, Rue des Douettes - 85130 - SAINT-AUBIN-DES-ORMEAUX - FRANCE.
Tel : 02 51 65 69 97 Mobile : 06 81 82 08 01 Fax : 02 51 47 62 26
E-mail : himal@wanadoo.fr Site AMT - Pascal Chevroton : www.sport-extreme.fr.st

Contact in Nepal : Mandala Trekking, Jerome Edou, G.P.O. Box: 4573. Kathmandu
Te : 977 1 412 438 Fax : 977 1 428 042 Email : mandala@mos.com.np


Himal Race - Annapurna - Sagarmatha

(Nepal - October - November 2002)

The unique edition of The Himal Race will take place in October and November 2002. Thirty runners will go from the Annapurna base camp to that of Sagarmatha - otherwise known as Everest.

1.200 km (40.000 m ascent, 39.000m descent) in complete autonomy during the race (start between arrived stage) and divided into 22 stages are envisaged. The end of every stage will act as a check-point and medical treatment will be available. Thirty runners will be selected on the basis of their files. Registration opens in April 2001. The registration is $ 4.000 USD or $ 3.200 USD without ticket plane. Four weeks in Nepal will be necessary to complete this race. If you wish to receive further information, please contact me by post, fax or e-mail : himal@wanadoo.fr

Day 1 Departure to Népal
Day 2 Arrived at Kathmandu
Day 3 Day in Kathmandu
Day 4 Kathmandu - Pokhara (avion), Pokhara - Birethanti (bus) et Birethanti - Ghandrung (à pied)
Day 5 Linked Stage (Liaison) : Ghandrung - Dobang
Day 6 Linked Stage (Liaison) : Dobang - Machhapuchhre Base Camp
Day 7 Stage 1 : Départ. Annapurna BC (3.900) - Chule (2.200)
Day 8 Stage 2 : Chule (2.200) - Poon Hill (3.190) - Dana (1.450)
Day 9 Stage 3 : Dana (1.450) - Marpha (2.650)
Day 10 Stage 4 : Marpha (2.650) - Muktinath (3.800)
Day 11 Stage 5 : Muktinath (3.800) - Thorong La (5.416) - Manang (3.550)
Day 12 Stage 6 : Manang (3.350) - Dharapani (1.950)
Day 13 Stage 7 : Dharapani (1.950) - Besi Sahar (850 m)
Day 14 Stage 8 : Besi Sahar (850) - Chyadi Danda (4.000) - Dudh Pokhari (3.750)
Day 15 Stage 9 : Dudh Pokhari (3.750 m) - Rupina Bhanjyang (4.650) - Chhuling Khola (2.050)
Day 16 Stage 10 : Chhuling Khola (2.050) - Khorjak (1.800)
Day 17 Stage 11 : Khorjak (1.800) - Sathi (1.500) - Tibling (2.850)
Day 18 Stage 12 : Tibling (2.850) - Pang Sang Bhanjyang (3.850) - Syabru Bensi (1.500)
Day 19 Stage 13 : Syabru Bensi (1.500) - Lantang (3.450)
Day 20 Stage 14 : Lantang (3.450) - Kangja La (5.130) - Tarkeghyang (2.750)
Day 21 Stage 15 : Tarkeghyang (2.750) - Jalbire (1.000)
Day 22 Stage 16 : Jalbire (1.000) - Barhabise (1.100) - Bigu Gompa (2.510)
Day 23 Stage 17 : Bigu Gompa (2.510) - Shigati (950) - Simigaon (1.900)
Day 24 Stage 18 : Simigaon (1.900 m) - Beding (3.700) - Noisy Knob Camp (5.000)
Day 25 Stage 19 : Noisi Knob Camp (5.000) - Trashi Latbsa (5.755) - Khumjung (3.850)
Day 26 Stage 20 : Khumjung (3.850) - Gokyo Ri (5.350 m)
Day 27 Stage 21 : Gokyo Village (4.750 m) - Chhugyuma La (5.420) - Lobuche (4.900)
Day 28 Stage 22 : Arrivée. Lobuche (4.900) - Kala Pattar (5.450) - Everest BC (5.370)
Day 29 Linked Stage (Liaison) : Gorak Shep - Pheriche
Day 30 Linked Stage (Liaison) : Pheriche - Namche
Day 31 Linked Stage (Liaison) : Namche - Lukla
Day 32 Return by plane : Lukla - Kathmandu
Day 33 Day in Kathmandu
Day 34 Day in Kathmandu
Day 35 Departure to…
Day 36 Arrived at…

Contact in France : Himalaya’ Racers Association - C/O Bruno Poirier.
19, Rue des Douettes - 85130 - SAINT-AUBIN-DES-ORMEAUX - FRANCE.
Tel : 02 51 65 69 97 Mobile : 06 81 82 08 01 Fax : 02 51 47 62 26
E-mail : himal@wanadoo.fr Site AMT - Pascal Chevroton : www.sport-extreme.fr.st

Contact in Nepal : Mandala Trekking, Jerome Edou, G.P.O. Box: 4573. Kathmandu
Tel : 977 1 412 438 Fax : 977 1 428 042 Email : mandala@mos.com.np


Back to CoolRunning home page
Click here for CoolRunning Homepage

CoolRunning : The original and best aussie site for runners by runners