Q & A

The most commonly asked questions, including "how cold will it be!"

Q & A

Here is a list of the most common questions and answers about the race. If you have another question, please mail: info@mustangtrailrace.com and we will add it to the list with a full answer.

Where is Mustang?

himalaya earth.imagico.de from space

Computer generated image of the Himalayas from above

The big split in the Himalayas is the Kali Gandaki river valley. It passes between Annapurna (foreground) and Dhaulagiri forming the deepest gorge in the world. Mustang lies north of these two mountains along the Kali Gandaki river gorge.


What training do I need to do for a multi-day race?

Training needs to be taken seriously. This race, while it can be run slowly as you wish, is still running a trail race every day for more than a week. Training needs to build endurance and resilience. Try reading these resources: http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/training/index.html http://trailrunnermag.com/beginners/training http://multidays.com/training-for-a-multiday-race-setting-the-goal/


Where do we sleep?

We’ll either be sleeping in tea-houses (the local hotels for trekkers). Our preference is to use local hotels as this benefits the local economy – plus it is part of the adventure. Bed capacity can be low in places and in this case, we’ll sleep a number of the participants in tents or a room in a local house.

Read more here. 


Is there a cutoff time for each stage?

As long as you need. There are no cut-off times – it makes no sense in this type of multi-stage race. There are sweepers following up each stage offering support. It’s a running event, but you can also walk as much as you want or need.


What will an average day on the race be like?

It depends on the length of the day in question. Normally we’ll get up at 6 to 6.30am – it’s the best time of the day. We’ll first pack our porter carried bags (so porters can move on to the finish) and then eat a light breakfast, pack our running rucksacks (with a packed lunch), and prepare for the start. Then we run to the finish! For short days, the start time might be later for you to explore the area a little. Where and when you eat lunch is up to you. You’re welcome to stop along the way or wait until the finish.

When you’re finished you’re welcome to explore the local surroundings, greet incoming runners, chat with locals, wash and change, drink endless cups of tea, play cards or maybe read a book or sleep. Around 5pm we’ll have official ‘tea & biscuits’ and 6 to 6.30pm we’ll have dinner. After dinner the race director will explain the coming day’s route and highlights. From experience, you’ll probably be ready for sleep around 9pm. Perhaps earlier.


How much equipment do I have to carry while running?

Short answer: enough to be safe. While the routes are well used, and it would difficult to loose the way, it can quickly get cool if you are only wearing sweaty running gear. In your backpack you should have – depending on the day – a certain amount of warm & protective clothing, provision for 2 litres of water, first aid kit and some food. We have provision for other equipment to be carried for you. The point is to be safe, but to keep it fun, and running with a heavy pack is less fun than with a light one.


What food will be available?

We’ll be serving traditional trekking food such as dal bhat (the Nepali national dish of rice, dal and vegetables), pasta, soups, potatoes, bread, fruits, eggs, occasionally meat (depending on availability), and sometimes apple pie. We’ll try where possible to use fresh local goods. We’ll serve portions big enough to match your calorific needs. If you have special requirements, please let us know.

Do bring your favorite energy snacks for on the trails. Feel free however to bring anything else you like to supplement what is provided for you.


Will there be medical facilities available?

There are basic medical posts at certain points along the trail and we’ll carry first aid kit and be accompanied by a wilderness first aid qualified person. In the case of emergency, a helicopter evacuation will be arranged. There are international standard medical facilities in Kathmandu. All competitors must have insurance that covers non-professional races, such as this one, plus helicopter rescue / medical evacuation.


Can I walk this course?

Yes. As long as you hike briskly (and have a headlight for the stage to Mukthinath) you will manage, though with long days.


What about altitude? Do I need to prepare somehow?

There is no prior preparation for altitude possible. Being fit helps you to cope with the extra breathing you’ll have to do, and the extra physical work you’ll be doing. By Himalayan standards this is a moderate altitude trail with all the night halts below 4000 meters. We’ve planned the days and nights to minimize the altitude hazards so as to cross the highest pass at 4,300m.  We’ll advise you before the race, if you have not been to significant altitude before, about the symptoms of altitude sickness, treatment, hydration etc.


What are the terrain and trails like?

mustang trek elevation profileThe trails are largely very good and wide. Prior to 1960s they used to be the only major trade highways between Nepal and Tibet, along which everything was carried (on the back of mules, horses and yaks, of course!) – the number of painted caves discovered in recent years testifies to the wealth of the region. You’ll enjoy running them! The trails are in general snow-free from early March to late December.


How much money do I need to carry?

Those who love ‘Tibet chic’ will have a field day busy choosing from all the souvenirs Lo Manthang has to offer. Beer, should you choose to buy it, will be the most expensive drink you can find as it is mostly carried in from lowlands or occasionally imported from Tibet. $15 per day will be much more than adequate for most people.


What about running at altitude?

This is a challenging one as it affects different people in different ways to different degrees. Normally the affects kick in at around 3,000m from where you should ascend about 400m per day with a rest day every 1000m – this is the guideline used that ensures the average person will acclimatise well and avoid issues. Acclimatisation has very little to do with physical ability. We believe our schedule should workout fine: we hover between 3000-4,000m for the entire trail (and running is OK under 4,000m in my experience, harder, but not desperate as you might think) and our highest pass crossing is a quick-up-and-over at 4,300m.

Whether this is ‘enjoyable’ for everyone is another matter! It is always more difficult panting for breath, but it is like saying running up hill is less enjoyable than running on the flat because it requires more effort. There is always a bottleneck to running speed and in this case it is oxygen. This route is much less taxing in terms of altitude than the Everest region treks and races where you’ll sleep for two nights at 4,900m and 5,100m – that’s high and uncomfortable!

If you live at sea-level, it makes little difference in my mind as most people in the world, and probably all participants, will live way below 2,000m and thus start unacclimatised. You’re going to be very fit on your return to sea-level too.


Do I need a visa for Nepal and how do I get it?

This is pretty simple for pretty much all nationalities. You can just get a visa upon arrival at the airport. Visa fees are $25/15 days, $40/30days and $100/90 days and have to be paid in a convertible currency but it’s usually cheapest in USD.

For your tourist visa, you can fill this form and upload a photo (link below) and print out the result… then from the aeroplane, walk directly to the payment counter to pay your visa fee in cash, before going to the immigration desks to get your visa in your passport. It’s the easiest way to get your visa, though if you have time, you can also apply from the Nepal embassy in your country but details for this you have to check the website of the Nepal Embassy in your country.
See the example right… common errors include putting text where only a number is allowed, or leaving fields blank. The address data will not be checked by the official, so if something is confusing, just enter ‘something’ and hope it works.
If you need a phone number, you can use mine: 00977 9803830880, and address, you can use of the hotel, which is: Hotel Manaslu, Lazimpat-2, Kathmandu.
Again, it is not likely to be checked. For the length of visa, the price increases after 15 days, until 30 days, but just put in your arrival and departure dates and see what comes out.
Otherwise there are touch screen machines in the airport where you can do this too… better to be prepared otherwise you will stand in a queue.
Most currencies are accepted for payment… prices are quoted in USD and if you use another currency, there is no guarantee of getting change in the same currency, or the rate being good – but it will be close enough so paying in euros is ok too.
ps. it never hurts to carry a passport photo and photocopy of your passport when travelling.

Can I bring things not mentioned on the kit list?

Yes. The required items are needed for safety – you’re in the mountains after all. But you can bring other things that are not mentioned such as trekking / running poles and other gear (no kitchen sinks however).


Do I need vaccinations or special medications?

Yes, especially if you have not been to Asia before, or not have not visited recently. See this website for complete information. http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/asia/nepal.php


How much of my things will be carried by porters from stage to stage?

In the morning you will pack your running bag with the things you need for the day. Other items (sleeping bag, books, iPod(?), other spare cloths etc.) can be put into a bag we will provide up to a maximum of 12kg.

If you think you will have more equipment with you for whatever reasons, please let us know in advance.


Do I need to bring energy bars, gels, powders etc.?

This is completely up to you, but you will not be able to buy many ‘energy’ foods along the trails so do bring your favorite gels, or energy bars for the run. There will be biscuits and some chocolate available in small shops. There are good value muesli bars available in Kathmandu, as well as the usual chocolate items. We will provide you with a small lunch pack each day including things like a muesli bar, bread, egg, nuts and raisins etc.


Is the itinerary flexible? Can I meet you at the start?

Yes, to a point. We’d love to have everybody together and move as a group for the good atmosphere that creates. However, this is a group of adventurous people who don’t always follow a crowd. At least one person will be mountain biking in Lower Mustang before joining at the start. Another will join us in Pokhara and hike out from Jomsom at the end. Let us know if you have a plan and we can see if we can accommodate it and price accordingly.


Can I save money by taking buses and staying with friends?

Yes. This is also mentioned in the point above. For some people who wish to join, this is a must as the permit fee is a large amount to overcome and so the total price could be reduced by using bus transport instead of flying, for instance. Contact us to discuss.


How cold will it be?

You can see from the chart below, that in April it is fairly mild. climate-table-lo-manthang-temperature


Is there internet available?

Jomsom has good internet. Kagbeni has slow internet, Lo Manthang has some very slow internet, Muktinath again has good wifi. Not much in between I’m afraid. You could carry a sat phone and use sms or something like this: http://www.thuraya.com/SatSleeve


Are supporters/friends welcome?

Yes, it is possible if your supporter is fit and active.

Read more here.

horse riding keith kostman mustang nepal

Particpant recovering for a stage on a horse




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