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Trail Race Series: Creating the foundation of sports tourism
Technology has travelled a milestone resulting in easy accessibility and better transportation facilities. One can reach every corners of the globe. Construction of roads has become a blessing for people to elevate their lifestyle. However, there are some demerits of technology, like destroying natural beauty. Pokhara has been facing this very problem. Small bypasses in the district are rapidly destroyed by the construction of motor roads and the use of trail is decreasing.
Flow of people in the bypass has decreased in massive number making it silent. Trail used by tourists are in danger of extinction. Now, Pokhara Trail Race Running Club is promoting the use of those trails by organizing a trail race. The club has been organizing races in different remote areas of the district where numerous national and international tourists participate.
There are mainly two motives behind organizing the race. One of them is to encourage the participation of Nepali runners in international trail race and another is to promote, preserve and protect the identity of bypass of remote areas which are losing its identity due to the establishment of motor road.
The club is set to organize four sessions of the race within the end of 2018. The last session of the race is going to be the longer than the remaining three sessions. The trial goes through the Panchase area, a big religious tourism attraction in Pokhara.
The best runner of the trail will get a chance to participate in the International Trail of Australia. “Trail race is considered as adventure sports. If we recognize the potential and promote the possibilities of trails, we can promote sports tourism in the country,” said the president of the club, Bikash Gurung. He adds, “We send all of our reports to International Trail Race Association. This will help in the promotion and advertisement of the trails.” According to him, Annapurna International golden trail will be inaugurated in Pokhara in 2019. People from all across the world will participate. He stated that the Golden Annapurna trail race will be one of the best trial races of world. He informed, “People can travel to Mardi Base Camp.”
There are currently almost a dozen of trials in Nepal. Runners form different countries are showing their concerns for the trial race that is being organized in Pokhara. The club is targeting to welcome 200 international tourists for the participating in the race till December of 2019.
The first session of trial race organized by the club was 13 kilometers long. Likewise, second and third was 20 and 25 kilometers respectively. The last session is going to be 55 kilometers long. Judging, examining, and investigation is done by ITR. “Score is one of the main aspects for runner,” said president Gurung.
Runners have to score 15 points in the 100-kilometers race in order to participate in international trail race. The points calculation is divided into three different sessions, where the runners will be judged on the basis of distance and altitude travelled.
Trail race has two decades long history in Nepal. British citizen, Richard Bale, introduced trail race in Nepal. He inspired Mira Rai in becoming an established of Trial Runner of Nepal. He also has played a vital role in inviting international runners for participate in trial runs. Rai is an international ultra-world champion.
Annapurna Triathlon was organized in Pokhara in 1995. This was the first event to introduce adventure sports in Nepal. Meantime, 100 kilometers race of Ghodepani was also organized at the same time.
Different Trail Every Time
Pokhara Trail Race (Running Club) is conducting a four- races series. According to Bikash Gurung, the race will be held once every three months, making four events in a year. They are searching for new trails on every race. “The currently used trails are on the verge of collapse. Now it has gained people’s attentions,” Gurung added.
Runners will run in Kahudada, Raniban, Methlang and Panchase trails. After Panchase, the club will end the series and conduct similar races with different trial routes in 2019.
Talking about using different trails every year, Gurung said, “If a runner runs in a same trail every year, he/she will hardly find any difference. So in order to make it unique, we go in search for different routes,” Gurung added.
Despite the possibilities of taking the races to other districts, the hope to organize races in other places aside Pokhara is still hard since the budget is limited. “If we have sponsors, we will bring the trail races to other districts,” the official said.
“We are not able to promote the trail race series,” he added. Friends have contributed in its establishment by collecting funds. Rajib Shrestha from the USA has been playing a pivotal role for the promotion of trial. A total of 50,000 clubs from all across the globe are affiliated with ITR. ITR organizes a convention yearly. The club claimed that marketing of trail is not working effectively due to the expenses.