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Montag, 15.10.2012 | von: ms

Michael gewinnt Gebirgsultra in Indien

Unser dänisches Mitglied Michael Nielsen ist im August in Indien einen sehr anspruchsvollen Trail über 222 km mit einer durchschnittlichen Höhe von 4.500 Metern gelaufen. Nach 36:36 Stunden belegte er den ersten Platz. Hier sein Bericht.

La Ultra The High

Kim Rasmussen called me in January 2012 because he found an interesting race, which he thought we should participate in. We therefore applied for participation in the race La Ultra The High on 24th August 2012.
From then, most of the time in Denmark was spent preparing myself mentally for this challenge.  Approximately two months before the race, all my forces were spent on training, weight loss and thinking about packing the right items – particularly running clothes.

Going to India
On Thursday 19th July, the suitcases were packed with winter-running clothes and very little normal/casual clothing. I learned a good lesson from a previous race in Davos, Switzerland, where the altitude was over 3000 metres above sea; it can be very cold!
We met with the running organisation and the rest of the runners with their respective crew in the morning on Sunday 22nd July.  They all looked very fit and I became a little humble, realising that my training looked like at holiday next to the others’ CV and training passes.
The first couple of days I suffered from insomnia and head ache due to the height differences – the highest point in Denmark being 170 metres above sea level.
We were introduced for our crew on Mon- and Tuesday 23rd and 24th July. I got Jules, Winzark, Z and Y. I also received the start number 7, which is my lucky number.
We then had to get to know each other; our moods and behaviours. I should try and explain them how I had planned to dispose this race. The other days were spent on looking at the different mountains and run a full or half marathon.
Three days before we had to go up to the camp, Kim and I decided to go river rafting to clear our brains and ensure that not all was about running. Some of the other runners found it unserious, but for Kim and I it seemed like a good recreation.

The race
The race day arrived. I got up at 4 a.m. after sleeping around 4-5 hours and found it sufficient. I ate plenty of muesli which I had brought with me from Denmark, so that my body were well charged of carbohydrates.
I was quite decided to reach the first top within 6-7 hours and fulfil in approximately 40 hours if all went well.
I was under a lot of pressure on the way up to Kardung la and did not drink or eat as I should, and I also fought with a lot of acidity in my stomach as well as a light cold which resulted in that I had no voice for the first 50-60 kilometres. This made it difficult for my crew  to communicate – in English, which was a challenge in itself.
But we managed – by sign language!
On the way down from Kardung la, I was surprised by only being able to walk, whereas I had been able to run on that stretch one week earlier without problems.
After around 60 kilometres, my body seemed to be able to start running short distances; 1100 metres run followed by 1000 metres walk. After practicing this for about 70 kilometres, I finally reached Sewo Kong. At 85 km I was alone in front of the race as the sun was going down.
It was a great night and I ran well all through the night, where the sky was lit by the moon light.
I reached the checkpoint and was informed that the route had to be changed as it was not possible to run on the original route.
So now we all had to cross another mountain pass.
I had to turn around and back from the same place we came from – a fairly flat path. This made me realise how far there was between myself and the other runners. I met Sewo Kong after approximately 8 kilometres, and at the crossroad to the other mountain pass I met Mark No 3.

Could I be the winner?

From this point I started to see myself as a potential winner. But I had to keep up the (good) pace. At that stage, Sewo Kong was about 15 kilometres behind and we had been running for 16-18 hours.
We had reached 164 kilometres after 24 hours, and the course started to rise in an unknown area without having the slightest idea of what was ahead of us.
Basecamp at 4000 metres was passed and on we went. It was a reveiw of stress and pressure of myself as I had the feeling the others were right behind, ready to take the leading position. The top seemed unreachable and the time before reaching the top seemed endless. I could finally see in the horizon that my chair was set out for me at the top. At that point, I had no power left to smile. Up to the chair and down again. I was filled with joy when I passed nr. 2, Sewo Kong 15 kilometres down the mountain, as well as some of the other runners further down struggling in the massive heat.  
The last 5 kilometres was the longest I have run in my life. I was constantly nervous getting overtaken those last kilometres.

The end
Yes, I finally made it, being 20 kilometres ahead of everyone else. I was the first Dane to finnish the world’s highest ultra race.
Food and drinks for the race
I had cooked 500 grams of pasta the day before the race, which were pored over with hot water before I should eat. The drinks consisted of Fanta or Cola diluted with 50% water. 200 grams of chocolate, a bit of coffee, an ice cream, half a Mars bar, a little slice of pizza, 3-4 capsules of salty biscuits and 4 slices of white bread with jam.

My crew were quick finding my chair and put up the needed gear and drinks. I could freely choose what I needed, every 2-5 kilometres.  I owe a big thanks to them for their patience and courtesy. I also want to thank the organisation for an adventure for life. I will always bear The High with me in my body, being a part of me. Finally, I want to thank my family for the support, giving me the opportunity to experience this fantastic race.

Congratulations, Michael – a really good job.


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