Keep on running
by MICHAEL COX
So when the organisers of Annapurna 100, an ultra endurance event of varying distances (50km, 70km, 100km), wanted some female runners to boost their profile, the women were a natural choice.
"We told the guide at Three Sisters: 'You'r fit. You can do it,'" said Roger Henke, organiser of the race.
In its fifth year, the Annapurna race didn't have many female runners in 2010. Organiser Roger Henke was determined to change that with the 2011 race.
"My friends were taking part, so I thought why not give it a shot?'' Anita told WAVE.
She nearly didn't make it. But nothing was going to stop her. Despite arriving late at the starting point at Mustang Chowk, Anita soon managed to catch up with the other runners and overtake them. She wasn't even sure which direction to run on the trail, but just kept going.
"I was running the final hour of the race alone'', she recalls, and volunteers along the trail cheered her on. "I reached Birethanti at 2.20pm. It was a long race, but I am happy I stood third.'' Encouraged by her win, Anita now plans to train for next year's marathon.
"Nepal is a bit behind the wave (in the West) when it comes to women's sport", he says. "If Nepali girls start training, they could be very serious international trail runners. It's time to get rid of the idea that women can only run five kilometres.''
Still, 2011 was a good year for women in the Annapurna 100. Britain's Lizzy Hawker, a 100km world champion, took part in the marathon and became the first woman to finish the race in 15 and a half hours. She was delighted to be running with Nepali women this year. "I know that for some women it was their first ultra event, so it was an incredible achievement for them to finish'', she said.
Dicky Chhetri, one of the founders of 3 Sisters, says she was inspired by the effort and courage of the guides from Pokhara who participated in the 50km marathon. "I hope there will be many more", she said
Another runner, Lalmaya Shahi says she had "an instant desire to race'' and plans to train for next year. The 20-year-old says that "Nepali women are behind in the sports arena because they don't grab the opportunities given to them''. Are things changing? Only time will tell.
Trail running getting started
Get a good pair of shoes. We say this even though we know our ancestors have been running barefoot all over because good shoes absorb the shock, make your feet bounce and prevent stress injuries.
Ladies, invest in a good sports bra. Not only does it stop the jiggling while running, it will also prevent your breasts from reaching your waist before you are 30.
Find a good running trail. Luckily there are plenty if you just venture outside any urban sprawl. Carry some light snacks and water, ideally with jeevan jal to replenish the salts.
Our favourite tunes for the run
Summer song, Joe Satriani