The second stage
Levitating across the Himalaya
After the extremely hard prelude Claus Dahms levitates on the second stage of the Himalayan 100 mile race.
2nd Stage: Sandakphu out-and-back course (3636 m), 32 kilometers
The night on 3636 m altitude wasn’t as nice as expected, I had a small headache and phases of sleeplessness. But after getting up in the morning my first look goes outside: Fresh air and a great mountain view.
Yesterday I couldn’t imagine running only one kilometer more. But after the gun goes off I have no problems anymore. The race course today is 32 kilometers long and in an altitude between 3200 and 3800 meters. That means a consistent up- and downhill on a runnable path.
Mister Pandey accelerated the start to 6.30 am being afraid of bad weather. But in reality, the clear morning sky shows sun and moon at the same time. Again and again I have to look at the most impressive the mountain world has to offer: Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse. I am not running, I am levitating. And what’s the odds of 32 kilometers? 10 kilometers less than tomorrow we have to go, thus a real day of recovery!
At first, my position in the overall field isn’t important for me today. I am taking my time, I stop to take pictures and just to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Because actually the panorama is way too bad to blink at it while running. Like yesterday, the course follows the Nepalese border and the border guards are a constant recurring audience for us runners. They friendly salutate or cheer us on.
The second stage is an out-and-back course and as the first runners come towards me, I promptly change. Suddenly, I am back in the competition, compare distances and weigh the odds to catch one or another on my way back, since I have started with easy running.
Again, on the way back the clouds are hanging back. I am running with a free view on the mountains – is there anything more beautiful in the runner’s world? For my part, I cannot think of anything better. Everything is completely the opposite of yesterday: no cramps, no fight on the limit of performance, and great weather. I am running quite relaxed, although the yesterday’s super heavy 38,6 kilometers are only some hours dated back.
The race organization is just amazing. What Mister Pandey sets up in this inhospitable no-man’s-land is hard to top. On the road, there are water points about every three kilometers and every third offers electrolytes, bananas, potatoes with salt and cookies in addition to water. Everything a maltreated runner’s body wants during the long hours of competing. And sometimes they have put up toilets in the wilderness.
When reaching a water station, the same ritual begins: „Sign in“. Every runner has to confirm his arrival with a signature. And this at first sneered procedure makes sense. Although everything is signed well, an exhausted, inattentive runner could get lost. And therefore it is very important in this region in the middle of nowhere, to trace back, where someone lost his way. Luckily, in 2007 there was no such emergency.
Usually in the first three days of a marathon I can hardly walk not to mention running. So, it was completely unimaginably two days ago, to cope with such huge distances and altitude differences. After the finish at our running camp in Sandakphu in 3636 m altitude I can imagine to run the full marathon tomorrow. Tonight it ist he ordinariest thing in the world, that tomorrow we will spend most of the day running.
Slowly I can understand what makes people to forsake all the luxus and to expose themselves to the heaviest strains in the wilderness. I realize, why people sleep five by five in freezing cold rooms and stand for hours in front of a coal-burning stove to dry their race trikots in its scanty warmth.
The pictures of the second day stage you will find here.
The report of the 3rd stage you will find here.
Pictures of the 3rd stage you will find here.
The report of the 4th stage you will find here.
Pictures of the 4th stage you will find here.
The report of the 5th stage you will find here.
Pictures of the 5th stage you will find here.
The report of the 1st stage you will find here.
Pictures of the 1st stage you will find here.