Racing at the Top of the World: The Golden Trail Series Finale and Annapurna 100
To race at the top of the world was an epic way to end the 2019 Golden Trail Series. The world’s best ultra trail runners tackled a harder than expected race at the Annapurna Trail Marathon last October 25 in Pockhara, Nepal.
As the host of the Golden Trail Series Grand Final, Nepal did not disappoint. The three-day race weekend welcomed 348 runners to run through the Himalayas and a chance experience how life passes in the mountain villages of Nepal.
Kilian Jornet and Judith Wyder produced impressive performances that earned them the 2019 championships for the annual event.
Jornet’s first place finish also won him the overall series title. The Spaniard finished the 42km mountain race in Nepal in four hours, 46 minutes and five seconds, well ahead of a number of top runners. Nepalese sky runner Bhim Gurung made a costly error, allowing Italy’s Davide Magnini to finish second in the race and second in the series overall. Stian Angermund of Norway completed the podium finish.
“One of the most beautiful races I have ever done,” Jornet said after the final race. Running through fields, forests and mountains, he described the course as having all the different landscapes. The GTS champion took part in 5 races in Europe and 1 in the US to become 1 of the top 10 men and women who were invited to race in Nepal.
Switzerland’s Wyder secured the GTS women’s crown after crossing the finish line in Pockhara with a performance of 5:42:03. Silvia Rampazzo of Italy came in second. South African Meg MacKenzie took third place.
“In the end, I was just happy to get closer to the finish,” said Wyder. “I just wanted to finish. They said it would be different and it really was different. Crazy trails, crazy uphills, crazy downhills.”
Watch the final video of the Golden Trail Series and see what happened at the Annapurna Trail Marathon.
The marathon preceded the Annapurna 100 km and 50 km races a day later with the host country well represented on the winning bracket. For the 100 km, local favorite Bhumi Raj Rai ruled with a winning time of 14:19:15 while fellow Nepalese Anita Rai topped the distaff side by clocking 21: 38:04.
Nepal’s Tasbir Lama was best overall in the 50K with 6:59:42 while fellow Nepalese Rojina Bhandari led the women by crossing the finish line at 7:47:45.
RACEYAYA AS THE OFFICIAL RACE TIMING SOLUTIONS FOR THE GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES GRAND FINALE AND ANNAPURNA 100
RaceYaya is the Official Timing Partner at the Golden Trail Series Finale and Annapurna 100. The three-day event had #yourRaceYaya on deck in the race village in Pockhara, closely monitoring each runner as they pass each checkpoint to assist the race organizing team which is led by Lizzy Hawker and Richard Ball in their Race Participant Management. For the past three years, the team have been working closely in the Annapurna 100 race to ensure each runners are accounted for and are back safely to the race village whether they finish or not.
Sans the given difficulty in communications in remote location, the team ensured proper coordinations are in place and actions needed are timely implemented in ensuring the participants’ safety. Live updates are also made available for monitoring and tracking by race spectators and their loved ones, powered by the #yourRaceYaya team.
Race Results are available at
ANNAPURNA 100: 100k and 55k https://results.raceyaya.com/events/annapurna-100-2019/100K
GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES GRAND FINAL https://results.raceyaya.com/events/golden-trail-2019/42K K
ABOUT THE GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES:
The elite runners of the Golden Trail World Series earned points in the season-long chase for a spot in the Grand Finale in Nepal. The athletes had to participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the finale. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races earned a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series was determined by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.
ABOUT THE ANNAPURNA 100
The 14th edition of Nepal’s original trail running race introduces 3 new demanding courses within the Mardi Himal trekking area, with some portions reaching over 3,500m. Considered a “fine but hard trail running race”, the altitude made for some fast hiking to allow runners the opportunity to appreciate the sweeping views.
Although everyone considered Himalaya’s gorgeous terrain- the colossal mountains, the awe-inducing views, the forest trails and the mountain villages – as the main attractions, getting up close and personal produced another reward: the Nepalese people.
Influenced by Hindu and Buddhism, Nepal’s diverse culture is intertwined with India and Tibet. Racers and organizers were unanimous in praising the cheerful Nepalese, describing them as “really nice”, “welcoming”, “generous” and “colorful” – sterling qualities that added to an amazing experience.
The Annapurna 100 is probably the only ultra race where runners receive a red tikka on their foreheads at 20 km and are bestowed a garland of silky flowers (khatta) around their neck once they cross the finish line.
To add to the intimate nature of the event, the 160 participants of both the 50 and 100 km races (and now the 42 km marathon) stayed in a local hillside village at the finish of the race . The finishers took part in dal bhat, a traditional Nepalese meal of masu or home cooked curries (chicken, potato and chickpea), dal (lentil) soup, achar chili sauce and boiled eggs. It was also a great opportunity to see firsthand what life is in a Himalayan mountain village.
As a way to give back to the local community, a portion of the entry fees supported local runners who would otherwise be unable to afford it as well as gathering Nepal’s most talented runners to compete in the race.