Sudip Kulung Rai and Aang Chuttin Sherpa won the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon on Thursday.
Everest Marathon 2011 champion and 2010 runner-up Rai claimed the men’s marathon in three hours 53 minutes and eight seconds. Rai edged Bhim Bahadur, who timed 3:53:58 hours, and his own brother Suman (4:08:10 hours) to win world’s one of the most challenging marathons after three years.
Rai, who has been participating in the marathon since 2008, said his experience worked in his favour. “The thick snow was making it pretty difficult and I slipped almost a dozen of times. But I have been running under these conditions for a long time and knew exactly how to cope with those challenges,” said Rai, the 24-year old from Solukhumbu.
Nepali runners also dominated the women’s marathon as Aang Chuttin Sherpa overcame Mingma Lhamu Sherpa and Lhahak Futi Sherpa for title. Aang Chuttin narrowly edged Mingma to claim the gold in 5:08:05. Mingma clocked 5:08:45 and Lhahak Futi finished in 5:22:00.
Polish runners made the top two finishers in the foreign category event. Robert Celinski clocked 4:39:39 to win the title ahead of compatriot Radek Serwinsk (5:43:05) and Briton Timothy Watson (5:45:00). Celinkski said hard work paid off. “I arrived here to win and trained for 45 days in the mountains because I wanted to acclimatise well. It was most adventurous and difficult race. One needs lot of courage to compete in this race,” said Celinski.
The marathon was originally scheduled to begin from the Everest Base Camp at the altitude of 5,364 metres but heavy snowfall forced the organisers to shift the starting point at Gorakshep (5,164m).
Meanwhile, TAC runner Samit Tamang cruised to his second consecutive 60k Extreme Ultra Challenge race victory in 7:17:55 hours in the event participated in by 10 foreigners and seven local athletes. Tamang’s timing was almost 40 minutes quicker than his previous mark.
“I had no idea on the route in the last edition but that was not the case this time,” said Tamang who took the pole position after 35 kms. Hom Lal Shrestha finished second in 7:38:15 and DB Kulung Rai timed 8:26:20 for third place finish. In the half marathon participated in by foreigners only, Karl David Turkovi of Australia won ahead of Geremy Kersten of Germany and Amanda Ryan of Austria.
Top three finishers of the men’s marathon and Extreme Ultra Marathon will earn Rs 100,000, 70,000 and 50,000 respectively. Top three finishers of foreign and women’s marathon will pocket Rs 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 respectively.