Third Place for Hollis in Himalayan 100 Challenge

Fundraising stories 21 February 2021
Our fabulous fundraiser Paul Hollis has successfully completed the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race. Not only did he complete this epic challenge he classified third overall and has raised a fantastic £1200 for Cardiomyopathy UK.

The Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race comprises stages of 24, 20, 26, 13 and 17 miles on five consecutive days with the total elevation being 28,054 feet!

Read Paul’s race report below, hopefully he inspires you to take on this challenge or any challenge for Cardiomyopathy UK:

I travelled to India on 30th October having butterflies in my stomach due to training not going how I had hoped. A month earlier I ran the Berlin Marathon and the day after I had a knee issue that caused me to struggle to walk for days. How would I manage to run this sort of distance for 5 days?

I rested the knee and the only running on the month leading up to the event was one parkrun. Really not ideal.

We got an internal flight to Bagdogra where we picked up more participants and we were taken to a hotel in Mirik where all participants were given a race briefing by the race director Mr C.S. PANDEY. A complimentary sightseeing tour of Darjeeling the next day was a good way to acclimatise to altitude at around 2700 meters. These days had given us all chance to meet and discuss our experiences, training, but mostly our fears of the next few days. There were some guys from the UK who were experienced with multi day eventing and absorbing their experience was a must. Also from the UK were three military lads who as you would expect were solid and reliable.

An early morning bus ride to start the event at Maneybhanyjang. A nice parade by the local villagers and presentation of a good luck scarf was the last bit of normality for the next five days.

Race day 1 was the toughest thing I have ever done, total elevation gain was around 2900 meters, which hurt as we climbed the gave it all back with a two mile downhill before having to climb it again. The final climb was up to a total altitude of 3600 where we stayed overnight at Sandakphu. I was shocked to say the least to have finished day one in second place, worrying that I may have gone off to hard. The national park here was stunning with my first ever view of Mount Everest, which left me in awe feeling tiny. But while Everest it the highest, it still seems dwarfed by the mountain range of Kanchenjunga (known as the sleeping Buddha). 

Race day 2 was an out and back where I was acutely aware that from leaving the 3600m area where we slept – (Or stayed awake all night trying to breathe), we went quite steep down, which obviously meant we would have to climb back at the end of the out and back. There was a wall one side and a sheer drop off a cliff the other, I chose the wall side and was extremely pleased that the Yak showed no interest in me whatsoever. Again I finished in second place.

Race day 3 was the Everest challenge marathon, my 12th Marathon in 12 months. This was the most technical race I have ever been in. Initially dealing with the climbs and rocks from Sandakphu to Molle with the downhill section through the jungle. The surface was wooden steps, planks of wood over streams, ravines made from water that had run down from the mountain and some extremely awkward steps on which I took a tumble and caused a massive bruise on my thigh which has been through nearly as many colours as the Sandakphu sunrises.

Race day 4 was on tarmac and as soon as I woke, I realised that the fall from marathon day had caused a dead leg, this was to be with me until the end of the 100 miles. Today’s route had plenty of up and downs staying overnight at Rimbick, which is a lovely well cared for village.

Race day 5 FINAL day. Seventeen miles were ahead of us on this day and the first five or six were up hill and the rest down to the race starting point of day one. Still harbouring a dead leg from the fall on day 3, I took time to reflect on the 83 miles completed up to date and headed for the bitter sweet finish, completion was going to be amazing, but somehow disappointing as that was the end. Coming into the final stretch back into Maneybhanyjang we were greeted by immaculately dressed school children chanting and organised with the girls on one side of the road and the boys on the other. Finisher’s scarves and High fives all round made for an emotional finish.

It was all done, I had survived, I had completed it, I hadn’t broken.A presentation ceremony awaited us in Mirik back at the race headquarters and I was over the moon to have finished third overall and be presented with my 4th Scarf!

Thanks to Himalayan Run and Trek and the race director my C.S. Pandey for the experience. I thoroughly recommend this race to everyone. The race director can be contacted by email at Entries are open for 2020 already.

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